Surgery is at its core humanitarian; humans delivering (intended) benevolent treatment to other humans to reduce suffering. However, the term Humanitarian Surgery has taken on a slightly different meaning, blending with Global Surgery, and refers specifically to surgical care delivered in limited-resource settings and/or austere environments. Whilst the NHS is certainly having its resources starved, this falls into sharp relief when compared with healthcare systems in conflict or disaster zones.
As with medicine in general, surgeons working in this global or humanitarian arena must be trained first to do no harm.
eoSurgical’s founders are all members of the Royal College of Surgeons of Surgeons of Edinburgh. This college has built a dedicated Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare – a response to the need within public health and industry to define and review standards of competence for organisations as well as medical and non-medical personnel delivering healthcare in remote, resource-limited, or austere environments. Their primary objective is “to improve the health outcomes of individuals living and working in remote, rural, austere and life-threatening areas of the world”. This is an objective shared by the teams at eoSurgical and Limbs & Things.
Everyone can play a role: government, individuals, healthcare professional volunteers, and industry. Médecins sans Frontieres illustrate just how diverse support can be. A natural disaster or conflict often presents a clear spike in frontline healthcare needs. Once this passes, many other challenges persist. Rebuilding infrastructure, retraining the workforce, rebuilding trust, dealing with a backlog – all are likely challenges. Optimising healthcare systems in such limited-resource settings is a daunting proposition. That said, there is an important role for healthcare training providers and simulation.
eoSurgical’s suite of simulators are low cost, portable, and pragmatic – making them ideal for use in low resource settings. Amongst sales in 95 different countries, many have been delivered to LMIC settings. We’ve also previously provided financial educational support for a trainee from Zambia in their quest to upskill as a surgeon. As we begin a new chapter as part of Limbs & Things, we will strive to continue to play a useful role in this arena.