Improving District Hospital Surgical Capacity in Resource Limited Settings: Challenges and Lessons From South Africa; Comment on “Improving Access to Surgery through Surgical Team Mentoring – Policy Lessons From Group Model Building with Local Stakeholders in Malawi”

Document Type : Commentary


1 Centre for Global Surgery, Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

2 Department of Surgery, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana


Strengthening surgical capacity of district hospitals (DHs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has been recognised globally as key to improving equitable access to surgical care. This commentary considers the benefits and challenges of surgical mentoring in South Africa and applies the lessons learned to other low-resource settings. Surgical team mentoring programmes require consideration of all stakeholders involved, with strong relationships between mentors and mentees, and the possible establishment of roaming district surgical teams. Other components of a surgical ecosystem must also be strengthened including defining a DH surgical package of care, ensuring strong referral systems through a hub and spoke model, and routine monitoring and evaluation. These recommendations have the potential to strengthen surgical capacity in DHs in low-resource settings which is critical to achieving health for all.


  • epublished Author Accepted Version: January 29, 2022
  • epublished Final Version: February 14, 2022
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Volume 11, Issue 10
October 2022
Pages 2361-2364
  • Receive Date: 12 November 2021
  • Revise Date: 24 January 2022
  • Accept Date: 26 January 2022
  • First Publish Date: 29 January 2022