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Invited Critique
June 2012

Facilities for Surgery Exist in Ghana, but Skills Are Lacking: Comment on “Assessing the Surgical and Obstetrics-Gynecology Workload of Medical Officers”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr McCord is retired from the Department of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York. He now resides in Oxford, England.

Arch Surg. 2012;147(6):548-549. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2012.455

We know that a sizable part of the world's “disease burden” is owing to surgical conditions. Several assessments have estimated the years of life lost to death or disability from surgically treatable disease at around 10% of the total years lost to the world's population.1 We believe that this burden is at least as great (and likely greater) in very poor countries, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, and we know that less than 4% of the world's surgical treatment is provided in low-income regions. Most of that surgery in poor countries is performed in the bigger cities, where only 10% to 20% of the population lives.