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October 1979

Surgical Safaris With the East Africa Flying Doctor Service

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of California at Irvine (Dr Furnas), the African Medical and Research Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya (Drs Gilchrist, Wood, and Rees), and the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, New York University, New York (Dr Rees).

Arch Surg. 1979;114(10):1143-1148. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370340049009

• A few hundred small mission and government hospitals serve the 20 million people who live in rural East Africa. The physician-patient ratio is 1:25,000. Surgical support to many of these hospitals is provided through the East Africa Flying Doctor Service of the African Medical and Research Foundation. Small aircraft that are coordinated by a wide radio network bring surgical capability to a maximum number of patients in this area of 1,300,000 sq km (500,000 sq miles). The clinical problems, differential diagnoses, operative decisions, risk, and complications of surgical care all have a distinctly African quality. The working conditions and variety and magnitude of problems provide a stimulating challenge. Surgical safaris are a catalyst for gaining acceptance of modern scientific methods by Africa's tradition-oriented tribesmen.

(Arch Surg 114:1143-1148, 1979)

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