Sustainability in humanitarian surgery during medical short-term trips (MSTs): feasibility of inguinal hernia repair in rural Nigeria over 6 years and 13 missions
Surgical teaching missions are known to contribute significantly in reducing the local burden of disease. However, the value of short-term medical service trips (MSTs) remains under debate. Humanitarian surgery is highly dependent on funding, and consequently, data evaluation is needed to secure funding for future projects. The aim of this trial is to evaluate the results of 6-year MSTs to rural Nigeria with a specific emphasis on hernia repairs.
Retrospective series of consecutive operations performed between 2011 and 2016 in rural Nigeria during 13 MSTs. Operations were categorized into type and number of procedures and origin of the surgeon. In terms of inguinal hernia repairs additional data was evaluated such as frequency of local anaesthesia (LA) and the type of hernia. The total amount of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted during each mission are presented and discussed with regard to sustainability of these missions.
From 2011 to 2016, a total of 1674 patients were operated. Of these, 1302 patients were operated for 1481 hernias of which 36.7% accounting as inguinoscrotal hernias. The percentage of operations performed by Nigerian staff increased from 31 to 55%. Overall, eighteen percent of the operations was solely performed by Nigerians. Totally, we averted 8092.83 DALY’s accounting for 5.46 DALY’s per hernia.
The presented missions contribute significantly to an improvement in local healthcare and decrease the burden of disease. We were able to show the sustainable character of these surgical missions. As a next step, we will analyse the cost-effectiveness of MSTs.
KeywordsHumanitarian surgery Groin hernia Nigeria DALY
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
None of the authors or any member of their immediate family has funding or commercial associations (e.g. consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc.) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
Ethical approval was not required as no personal datas included.
Human and animal participants
No animals were involved in this study.
No informed consent was required for this study.
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