The Surgeons OverSeas (SOS) flagship program aims to provide support to local surgeons, hospitals and ministries of health to assist them in developing long-term surgical capacity. SOS programs concentrate on emergency and essential surgical care - basic and life saving procedures that can easily be undertaken and taught in resource-limited environments. SOS also provides a forum for surgeons and residents in developed countries to more easily connect with colleagues in developing countries.
The Surgeons OverSeas (SOS) philosophy is one of empowering local surgeons and physicians to safely provide the surgical care that is vitally needed for many of the world’s poorest populations. The aim is not to provide a “Western” standard of care, but to develop local solutions within the constraints of each local situation.
Support-a-surgeon: This program provides support to local operating room healthcare workers. Monetary levels are determined on a facility by facility basis based on consultation with local administrators and ministries of health. A local contact person is necessary to assure equitable distribution of funds. Persons who receive funds confirm their desire to abide by the principles of the society and agree to use standard precautions.
S.H.A.R.P (Surgery and HIV/AIDS Response Program): This program provides local operating room healthcare workers with protective gear to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other blood borne diseases. Eye protection, aprons, rubber boots are locally procured when possible and provided to health facilities. Educational sessions and an advocacy campaign also address the need for legislation to provide such safety equipment for all healthcare workers.
E2SC (Emergency and Essential Surgical Care) Workshops: Training workshops teaching emergency and essential surgical care are facilitated and local surgeons are encouraged where possible to take the lead role as educators.
Situational analysis: To understand the baseline conditions and to develop our strategy, the first item for each country is to conduct a surgical situational analysis. We developed a survey based on Personnel, Infrastructure, Procedures, Equipment and Supplies (PIPES) and created an index to measure progress over time.
Population based survey: To understand the baseline incidence and prevalence of surgically treatable conditions a population based cluster sampling survey we developed the Surgeons OverSeas Assessment of Surgical need (SOSAS). Full country surveys were undertaken in Sierra Leone and Rwanda.