Systematic review of postgraduate surgical education in low- and middle-income countries

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Surgical care is recognized as an important component of public health, however, many low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) are faced with a shortage of trained personnel. In response to this unmet need, many countries have developed local postgraduate training programs in surgery. This study aims to characterize general surgery postgraduate education in LMICs. PubMed, EMBASE, and Global Index Medicus databases were searched for articles related to postgraduate general surgery education in LMICs. Studies in other surgical specialties and those published prior to 1990 were excluded. Data were collected on the characteristics of postgraduate training programs. Sixty-four articles discussed postgraduate surgical education in LMICs. Programs in 34 different countries and 6 different regions were represented. Nine countries were low-income, 12 were low-middle-income, and 13 were upper-middle-income countries. Sixty-four articles described aspects of the local postgraduate training program. Prior to postgraduate training, residents complete an undergraduate medical degree with 19 programs describing a pre-training experience such as internship. Surgical curricula were broad-based to prepare trainees to work in low-resource settings. At the completion of postgraduate training, examination formats varied including oral, written, and clinical exams. Postgraduate general surgery programs ranged from 2.5 to 7 years. Postgraduate surgical education is one mechanism to increase surgical capacity in LMICs. Different strategies have been employed to improve surgical education in LMICs and learning from these programs can optimize surgical education across teaching sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1324-1335
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Société Internationale de Chirurgie.


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