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Invited Critique
August 2010

The Need for Sustainability in Contemporary Global Health Efforts: Missions vs MissionComment on “Surgery in the Horn of Africa”

Arch Surg. 2010;145(8):752-753. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.130

Until recently, response to the surgical global health burden has been largely through short-term volunteer surgical missions. With a few exceptions, most of these missions are time limited and unpredictable. A visit to any operating room in the developing world reveals a landscape littered with the detritus of well-meaning missions: unrepaired ventilators, incubators, and anesthesia machines labeled with the name and date of the mission can be found in the most remote parts of the world. Although short-term missions have no doubt improved the lives of many individuals, their ability to make a meaningful and lasting effect in the developing world is limited.

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