People involved with Surgeons OverSeas (SOS) share a clear vision: To reduce death and disability from surgically treatable conditions in developing countries to rates similar to those seen in developed countries.

We are committed to saving lives in developing countries by improving surgical care. SOS achieves this through collaborative training, funding, and research initiatives.  We accomplish this via three programmatic arms: Direct interventions and missions, Advocacy and Research.

Direct Interventions and Missions

The SOS model for interventions entails identifying local surgeons in host nations and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization undertaking a needs assessment of surgical capacity. Subsequently interventions are planned based on manpower and material needs.

One of the biggest problems affecting health facilities in resource poor environments is the lack of highly trained health personnel capable of performing safe surgery. SOS endeavors to help with this situation both financially and academically.

The emphasis of SOS missions continues to be on teaching skills and enhancing local capabilities rather than providing direct patient care.


To raise awareness of the need for surgery in developing countries, SOS serves as a focal point for surgeons and others interested in knowing about surgical work and conditions throughout the world.

SOS acts as a resource to provide background information and standards on how to work and function in resource poor environments. Information is available through the SOS website and through communication with SOS members.

SOS was recognized by the United Nations and give Special Consultative Status.

SOS initiated the drafting of a World Health Organization World Health Assembly resolution calling for increased resources for Surgical Care and Anesthesia. We actively contacted Ministries of Health around the world to propose and support such an item.

SOS is actively involved in social media and spreading information related to SOS programs and global surgery.


SOS looks to support research into the global burden of surgical disease. We believe that before policy makers and donors will allocate additional resources for global surgery there needs to be a better definition of the underlying problem.

SOSAS, the Surgeons OverSeas Assessment of Surgical need survey was completed in Rwanda and Sierra Leone and the results were published. Addition sub-analysis is ongoing and will be published shortly.

In 2013 thirteen papers were published in peer-reviewed medical journals.