, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 1-5
Date: 29 Oct 2008

Population Health Metrics for Surgery: Effective Coverage of Surgical Services in Low-Income and Middle-Income Countries

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Abstract

Background

Access to surgical services is emerging as a crucial issue in global public health. “Effective coverage” is a health metric used to evaluate essential health services in low- and middle-income countries. It measures the fraction of potential health gained that is actually realized for a given intervention by integrating the concepts of need, use, and quality.

Methods

This study applies the concept of effective coverage to surgical services by considering injuries and obstetric complications as high-priority surgical conditions in low- and middle-income countries.

Results

Effective coverage for both is poor, but it is less well defined for traumatic conditions compared to obstetric conditions owing to a lack of data.

Conclusions

More primary and secondary data are critical to measure effective coverage and to estimate the resources required to improve access to surgical services in low- and middle-income countries.