Diagnostic and surgical camps: Cost-effective way to address surgical needs of the poor and marginalized


The World Health Organization has estimated that 11% of the global disease burden can be treated with surgical procedures, but there are 2 billion people who have no access to basic surgical care. Out of the 234 million surgeries carried out each year, the world’s poorest third gets only 3.5%. [1-3]

Ways to Camp 2Ways to Camp 1The major problems in rural areas relate to the availability, accessibility and affordability of surgical care. It is expensive to set up surgical facilities in remote areas, and if available, it is even more difficult to get surgeons and others to staff them. If facilities and staff are available, the workload and paying capacity might not be sufficient to sustain the facility in a rural area.


The diagnostic camps take all of the diagnostic facilities that are usually available at hospitals to remote rural areas. The entire laboratory with all of the possible investigations is available in the remote area, including the pharmacy, gastroscopy, cystoscopy, ultrasound examinations, etc., though X-rays are logistically difficult. The local churches, social service organizations or the villages themselves organize these diagnostic camps. They use the consultation fee to cover their expenses, and patients are happy to pay for the investigations, medicines and procedures.

The surgical camps located are at nearby hospitals or health care facilities. Advanced surgical procedures, endoscopic surgical procedures and laparoscopic surgical procedures are possible with the set of mobile equipment earmarked for these camps. Qualified and trained personnel are available at these hospitals for the surgical camp. Half the fee that the patients pay is for organizing the surgical camps, and the other half is for the local hospital.

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