Innovations in Surgical Care for the Poor: Presented at the Canadian Conference on Global Health 2014


Advanced surgical care is not available to most people in rural areas because of reasons related to “Accessibility, Availability and Affordability.” We describe how the Surgical Services Initiative helped to address these problems and make advanced surgical care available to the poor and the needy over three decades, in remote and rural areas of India.


outside clinicDiagnostic camps take all the diagnostic facilities available at the hospital to remote rural areas. They include ultrasonography, cystoscopy, gastroscopy and the entire laboratory. They are arranged by local churches and NGOs. Surgical camps are arranged in nearby mission or rural hospitals.

The surgical camp model takes modern surgical facilities to remote areas and deals with the problem of accessibility. This is a self-sustaining, cost-effective model. These camps make highly specialized care available by taking experts and consultants in the field and using the opportunity to train local and other surgeons. Online training programs with live streaming of surgical procedures and hands-on training during surgical camps can help many rural surgeons learn new techniques.

Advanced surgical care is made affordable with innovations like Gasless Lift Laparoscopic surgeries and low-cost vacuum therapy. The research projects are carried out with the help of staff and students of Karunya University, which has good engineering institutions.


exam1The initial article about the surgical camp model received the Barker Memorial Prize by Tropical Doctor in 1997. On average, about 1,000 patients benefited from advanced surgical procedures in rural areas every year for the last two decades. Several innovative, low-cost procedures were published in national and international journals.

In a study published in the Australian New Zealand Journal of Surgery in 2007, it was found that in three districts of Mizoram, with 3 to 4 diagnostic camps a year, more than 50% of the estimated patients with bladder outflow obstruction due to benign prostatic hyperplasia were evaluated and treated.

A study published in the Indian Journal of Surgery in 2007 showed that it was possible to offer high-quality surgical services while charging only ...

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