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World J Surg. 2011 Jan;35(1):17-21. doi: 10.1007/s00268-010-0836-2.

Surgery and global public health: the UNC-Malawi surgical initiative as a model for sustainable collaboration.

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Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 4001 Burnett-Womack Bldg CB #7050, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7050, USA.


Addressing global health disparities in the developing world gained prominence during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The HIV/AIDS epidemic triggered much interest in and funding for health improvement and mortality reduction in low- and middle-income nations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Alliances between U.S. academic medical centers and African nations were created through the departments of internal medicine and infectious disease. However, the importance of addressing surgical disease as part of global public health is becoming recognized as part of international health development efforts. We propose a novel model to reduce the global burden of surgical diseases in resource poor settings by incorporating a sustained institutional surgical presence with our residency training experience by placing a senior surgical resident to provide continuity of care and facilitate training of local personnel. We present the experiences of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Department of Surgery as part of the UNC Project in Malawi as an example of this innovative approach.

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