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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - World Journal of Surgery
Title Surgical resources in South Africa: An international comparison and deficit calculation
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 1-8
URL https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00268-017-4176-3
Abstract
Background: Surgical conditions lead to premature death and disability resulting in a massive economic burden. Contributing to this global crisis is the lack of data on the limited surgical infrastructure and workforce in many low- and middle-income countries.
Methods: This study involved a descriptive analysis of surgical resources in South Africa and included the total number of hospitals, number of hospital beds, number of surgical beds, number of general surgeons, and the number of functional operating theatres. All hospitals in South Africa were contacted between the 1 October 2014 and the 31 December 2014. An international comparison of South Africa’s surgical resources was then made with several countries.
Results: The results showed one hospital per 100,000 population. There were 186.64 hospital beds, 41.55 surgical beds, 1.78 specialist general surgeons, 2.90 non-specialist general surgeons, and 3.59 operating theatres per 100,000 people in South Africa. These numbers fell far below international recommendations, as well as for developed countries such as the UK and USA.
Conclusion: Strengthening surgical systems will reduce the surgical burden of disease and improve health outcomes globally. This description of surgical infrastructure and workforce provided insight into the surgical capacity of South Africa. Furthermore, this research provided a comparison of surgical resources between South Africa and the rest of the world.

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