We Asked the Experts: The Role of Rural Hospitals in Achieving Equitable Surgical Access in Low-Resourced Settings

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We Asked the Experts: The Role of Rural Hospitals in Achieving Equitable Surgical Access in Low-Resourced Settings


JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Article typeJournal research article – Other
Publication date – Aug – 2021
Authors – Kathryn Chu, Rebecca Maine & Riaan Duvenage
KeywordsLMICs, Rural Hospitals, surgical ecosystem
Open access – Yes
SpecialityGeneral surgery, Health policy
World region Global

Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on August 14, 2021 at 7:43 am
Abstract:

Strengthening and defining the role of rural hospitals within a surgical ecosystem is essential to improving quality and timely surgical access for rural people in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Regional hospitals are the cornerstone of LMIC rural surgical care but have insufficient human resources and infrastructure that limit the surgical care they can provide. District hospitals are most accessible for many rural patients but also have limited surgical capacity. In order to surgical access for rural people, both regional and district hospital surgical services must be strengthened. A strong relationship between regional and district hospitals through a hub and spoke model is needed. Regional hospital surgeons can support training and supervision for and referrals from district hospitals. Telemedicine can play a key role to leapfrog physical barriers and surgical specialist shortages. The changing demographics of surgical disease will continue to worsen the strain on tertiary hospitals where most subspecialists in LMICs work. The fewer rural patients who need to travel to urban referral and tertiary facilities for problems that can be managed at lower-level facilities, the better access to timely surgical care for all.

OSI Number – 21201

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