Surgical Care for Northeast India: Take Home Message from a ARSICON 2017 Session

By: Dr. J. Gnanaraj and William Bolton

Several current challenges in delivering rural surgery to underserved populations of the north-eastern states of India were discussed at the 2017 Association of Rural Surgeons of India Conferences (ARSICON) this November. Rural surgery needs to be attractive for both surgeons to train and practice in, and for patients to engage and seek affordable, timely care. At present surgeons all too often do not stay and work in the rural area long term. There are several reasons why this may be the case, and some we can’t directly impact, such as community/infrastructure issues like lack of schools and roads. However, there are some areas we can tackle to enhance healthcare in these regions, which over time will lead to greater investment in the area in the long term. In collaboration with ARSI, we can make rural surgery more attractive for surgeons through the following potential work areas:

  1. Collaborating with ARSI in the generation of rural surgical guidelines and protocols to outline what rural surgeons can do, when and where. This will improve the legal status of rural surgeons and make them more protected to function in these challenging environments.
  2. Enhancing rural surgery specific training. We can do this through local medical college enhancement with rural surgery curriculums but also showcasing that surgeons can still obtain their skills in laparoscopy (for example) through the use of novel technology such as the GLLS device.


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