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Commentary
Sep 2012

Benchmarks for International Surgery

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of General Surgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Arch Surg. 2012;147(9):796-797. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2012.696

According to the World Health Organization, 11% of the global burden of disease can be treated with surgical intervention, and 80% of deaths from surgically correctable conditions occur in low-income and middle-income countries.1 As the global burden of infectious disease decreases owing to advances in medical interventions in developing countries, the global burden of surgically treatable disease will grow. This tragic situation has not gone unnoticed by international medical aid organizations, surgical residency programs, or the American College of Surgeons. As more opportunities to work in developing countries become available, it is important to define benchmarks for international surgery to provide guidance for surgeons in choosing how to volunteer their time and for organizations in creating and improving volunteer opportunities.

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