Access to safe and effective surgery is limited in low and middle-income countries. Short-term surgical missions are a common platform to provide care, but the few published outcomes suggest unacceptable morbidity and mortality. We sought to study the safety and effectiveness of the ApriDec Medical Outreach Group (AMOG).
Data from the December 2017 and April 2018 outreaches were prospectively collected. Patient demographics, characteristics of surgery, complications of surgery, and patient quality of life were collected preoperatively and on postoperative days 15 and 30. Data were analyzed to determine complication rates and trends in quality of life.
260/278 (93.5%) of patients completed a 30-day follow-up. Of these, surgical site infection was the most common complication (8.0%), followed by hematoma (4.1%). Rates of urinary tract infection were 1.2% while all other complications occurred in less than 1% of patients. There were no mortalities. With increasing time after surgery (0 to 15 days to 30 days), there was a significant improvement across each of the dimensions of quality of life (p < 0.001). All patients reported satisfaction with their procedure.
This study demonstrated that the care provided by AMOG group to the underserved populations of northern Ghana, yielded complication rates similar to others in low-resourced communities, leading to improved quality of life.