Access to Care

Prevalence Study on Surgical Conditions 2019

Knowledge on the prevalence of health conditions is needed to raise awareness of the medical need of populations, to convince donors of the magnitude of treatable conditions and to provide policy makers and ministries of health with the requisite data needed to plan interventions.

“To address these deficiencies for surgical conditions in Sierra Leone, community-level research to quantify the surgical need of the population is needed.”

In 2012 the American organization Surgeons over Seas, together with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone performed the Surgeons Overseas Surgical Needs Assessment. This study demonstrated a large unmet need for surgical consultations in Sierra Leone and provided a baseline against which future surgical programmes can be measured.

Two years after the conduction of this study, the Sierra Leonean health care system was severely affected by the West African EVD outbreak. During and after the outbreak, several major health system interventions have taken place, such as the start of a surgical task-sharing program, employment of regionally hired medical doctors to support first level hospitals, establishment of national ambulance service and national emergency medical services, as well as mobilising of non-governmental organisations to support the healthcare system after the Ebola outbreak.

Research Project

We will repeat the original 2012 SOSAS study to measure the effect of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak and subsequently also health system interventions aiming to strengthen surgical services in Sierra Leone. The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of surgical conditions in Sierra Leone.

Current activities

Finalizing study protocol; for ethical review August 2019 (Norway) Pilot study start September 2019 (Sierra Leone) Data collection starting October 2019 (Sierra Leone)

Main researchers

The Prevalence Study on Surgical Conditions 2019 has been initiated by Håkon Bolkan MD PhD, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Norwegian NGO CapaCare. Jurre van Kesteren is member of the core research team and lead of the SOSAS repeat study arm.

Link to original SOSAS publication Cite: Groen RS et al. Untreated surgical conditions in Sierra Leone: a cluster randomised, cross-sectional, countrywide survey. Lancet. 2012.