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March 16, 2009

Voluntarism and the Global Unmet Need for Surgery

Arch Surg. 2009;144(3):289-292. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2008.567

Many thanks to Dr Abdullah1 for an eloquent account of the challenges and benefits of surgical mission work in Africa. Voluntarism in environments with such profound resource constraints reminds many of us of our initial motivations for entering a career in surgery and highlights the ground reality of global surgical disparities.

In the last 5 years, collaborating with a surgical training program in Uganda, we have also found that a longitudinal, mutually beneficial relationship with shared goals and objectives is critical.2 In particular, the support of local training is an essential component of long-term capacity building.

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