Surgical missions, usually short-term (1-2 weeks) trips from high-income countries to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), have seen an unprecedented increase. Much has been written about these mission trips from the perspective of the surgeons from high-income countries. However, the voice of local surgeons and staff is predictably silent.
We are 2 surgeons trained in the United States working as local faculty in a Rwandan tertiary referral hospital for the past 1 to 2 years. We came to help strengthen the health care workforce via education1 and discovered ourselves integrated into the local faculty. We experience the same challenges, frustrations, and successes as our local colleagues on a daily basis. We therefore offer our unique perspective on the effect of short-term surgical missions in low-resource settings and offer suggestions to improve their effectiveness, relevance, and sustainability.
Ginwalla R, Rickard J. Surgical MissionsThe View From the Other Side. JAMA Surg. 2015;150(4):289-290. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.2262