Approximately 11% of the global burden of disease is surgically treatable. When located within the head, face, and neck region, plastic surgeons are particularly trained to treat these conditions. The purpose of this study was to describe the etiology, disability, and barriers to receiving care for diseases of the head, face, mouth, and neck region across 4 low-and-middle-income countries.
The Surgeons OverSeas Assessment of Surgical Need (SOSAS) instrument is a cluster randomized, cross-sectional, national survey administered in Nepal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda from 2011 to 2014. The survey identifies demographic characteristics, etiology, disease timing, proportion seeking/receiving care, barriers to care, and disability.
Across the 4 countries, 1413 diseases of head, face, mouth, and neck region were identified. Masses (22.13%) and trauma (32.8%) were the most common etiology. Nepal reported the largest proportion of masses (40.22%) and Rwanda reported the largest amount of trauma (52.65%) (P
< 0.001). Rwanda had the highest proportion of individuals seeking (89.6%) and receiving care (83.63%) while Sierra Leone reported the fewest (60% versus 47.77%, P
< 0.001). In our multi-variate analysis literacy and chronic conditions were predictors for receiving care while diseases causing the greatest disability predicted not receiving care (ORa .58 and .48 versus 1.31 P
The global volunteering plastic surgeon should be prepared to treat chronic craniofacial conditions. Furthermore, governments should address structural barriers, such as health illiteracy and lack of access to local plastic surgery care by supporting local training efforts.