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September 2022

Arch Surg. 1979 Oct; 114(10): 1143-8.

Surgical safaris with the East Africa Flying Doctor Service.

Furnas DW, Gilchrist D, Rees TD, Wood AM.

A few hundred small mission and government hospitals serve the 20 million people who live in rural East Africa. The physician-patient ratio is 1:25,000. Surgical support to many of these hospitals is provided through the East Africa Flying Doctor Service of the African Medical and Research Foundation. Small aircraft that are coordinated by a wide radio network bring surgical capability to a maximum number of patients in this area of 1,300,000 sq km (500,00 sq miles). The clinical problems, differential diagnoses, operative decisions, risk, and complications of surgical care all have a distinctly African quality. The working conditions and variety and magnitude of problems provide a stimulating challenge. Surgical safaris are a catalyst for gaining acceptance of modern scientific methods by Africa's tradition-oriented tribesmen.


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