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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Barbara A. Latenser, MD, FACS (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This intelligent book illustrates the previously ignored relationship between surgery and public health, providing a systematic approach to global healthcare and a compelling vision for the future.
Purpose: The book demonstrates how surgery can, and should, be an integral part of healthcare delivery systems. Through collaboration between preventive public health and surgically focused organizations, the health status of entire low income countries will improve. This innovative work provides solutions to the current disparity between disease burden and healthcare resources.
Audience: The authors believe they have defined a new model for surgeons, seeking to firmly integrate surgery into the domain of public health. However, this book has something for anyone interested in humanitarian healthcare, healthcare delivery systems, funding and grants, groups working to eradicate poverty, and even those working to provide affordable electricity to low- and middle-income countries.
Features: The authors elegantly take us through the current state of global healthcare delivery, what is available in high income countries, and show some specific examples of specific disease entities that are easily translatable into healthcare delivery in resource-challenged countries. Using specific examples of successful community implementations, we see how a small change has a large effect. The economic impact of neglecting surgical diseases on a global level are neatly displayed at a level easily understandable to novice global healthcare providers. Surgical procedures and subspecialties are described with enough detail that students of public health and policy, humanitarian aid groups, and especially those working in positions of influence within governmental organizations, will find a compelling case for integrating surgery into public health. Each chapter ends with study questions and discussion points, helping focus readers on some concrete action items, rather than leave the topic in the conceptual stage. The list of acronyms at the end is especially helpful. I would have liked more discussion about two surgical entities with the highest disease burden in low income countries, namely trauma and burns. There are many groups and organizations not based in the United States working on trauma and burn education, prevention, and outreach strategies. The inclusion of organizations outside of the U.S. would provide a more complete perspective.
Assessment: Although global surgery and volunteerism are becoming chic, much remains to be done. Although not written for surgeons, this book is a call to arms for all surgeons, and should be mandatory reading for everyone during residency training. Current and future partnerships between healthcare and governmental organizations bring us closer to providing for the surgical needs of patients worldwide.