Surgeons OverSeas (SOS)
Over 2 billion people around the world do not have access to basic surgical care. Approximately 56 million people in Africa need an operation today.
Surgeons OverSeas (SOS) provides support to local surgeons, hospitals and Ministries of Health in low and middle-income countries to assist in developing long-term surgical capacity. SOS programs concentrate on emergency and essential surgical care - basic and life saving procedures that can easily be undertaken and taught in resource-limited environments. SOS also provides a forum for surgeons and residents in developed countries to more easily connect with colleagues in developing countries.
The Surgeons OverSeas (SOS) philosophy is one of empowering local surgeons and physicians to safely provide the surgical care that is vitally needed for many of the world’s poorest populations.
SOS programs have included:
Support-a-surgeon: Support for local operating room healthcare workers. Monetary levels were determined based on consultation with local administrators and Ministries of Health personnel. A local contact person was identified to assure equitable distribution of funds. Persons who receive funds confirm their desire to abide by the principles of SOS and agree to use standard precautions.
S.H.A.R.P (Surgery and HIV/AIDS Response Program): Provided operating room healthcare workers with protective gear to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other blood borne diseases. Eye protection, aprons, rubber boots were locally procured when possible and provided to health facilities. Educational sessions and an advocacy campaign also addressed the need for legislation to provide such safety equipment for all healthcare workers.
E2SC (Emergency and Essential Surgical Care) Workshops: Training workshops to teach E2SC were organized with local surgeons encouraged to take lead roles as educators.
Personnel, Infrastructure, Procedure, Equipment and Supplies (PIPES): Hospital capacity surveys were developed to understand baseline conditions at health facilities and to assist in developing an intervention strategy. SOS has been involved with hospital based surveys in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Bolivia. All data collected are published in peer-reviewed journals and shared with the local surgeons and Ministry of Health.
Surgeons OverSeas Assessment of Surgical need (SOSAS): population based community surveys were developed to understand the incidence and prevalence of surgically treatable conditions. To date full country surveys have been undertaken in Sierra Leone and Rwanda.