World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 24–31 | Cite as

Measuring Global Surgical Disparities: A Survey of Surgical and Anesthesia Infrastructure in Bangladesh

  • Drake G. LeBrunEmail author
  • Debashish Dhar
  • Md. Imran H. Sarkar
  • T. M. Tanzil A. Imran
  • Sayadat N. Kazi
  • K. A. Kelly McQueen



Surgically treatable diseases weigh heavily on the lives of people in resource-poor countries. Though global surgical disparities are increasingly recognized as a public health priority, the extent of these disparities is unknown because of a lack of data. The present study sought to measure surgical and anesthesia infrastructure in Bangladesh as part of an international study assessing surgical and anesthesia capacity in low income nations.


A comprehensive survey tool was administered via convenience sampling at one public district hospital and one public tertiary care hospital in each of the seven administrative divisions of Bangladesh.


There are an estimated 1,200 obstetricians, 2,615 general and subspecialist surgeons, and 850 anesthesiologists in Bangladesh. These numbers correspond to 0.24 surgical providers per 10,000 people and 0.05 anesthesiologists per 10,000 people. Surveyed hospitals performed a large number of operations annually despite having minimal clinical human resources and inadequate physical infrastructure. Shortages in equipment and/or essential medicines were reported at all hospitals and these shortages were particularly severe at the district hospital level.


In order to meet the immense demand for surgical care in Bangladesh, public hospitals must address critical shortages in skilled human resources, inadequate physical infrastructure, and low availability of equipment and essential medications. This study identified numerous areas in which the international community can play a vital role in increasing surgical and anesthesia capacity in Bangladesh and ensuring safe surgery for all in the country.


District Hospital Clubfoot Medical College Hospital Village Doctor Equipment Availability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, members of the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Society of Anaesthesiologists, the Society of Surgeons of Bangladesh, and other professional organizations, hospital directors, physicians, and staff, without whose help and incomparable hospitality this study would never have been possible.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Drake G. LeBrun
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  • Debashish Dhar
    • 2
  • Md. Imran H. Sarkar
    • 3
  • T. M. Tanzil A. Imran
    • 4
  • Sayadat N. Kazi
    • 5
  • K. A. Kelly McQueen
    • 6
  1. 1.Thomas J. Watson FoundationNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.North South UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.Dhaka Medical College HospitalRamnaBangladesh
  4. 4.Shahid Suhrawardi Medical CollegeDhakaBangladesh
  5. 5.Tejgaon CollegeFarmgateBangladesh
  6. 6.Department of AnesthesiologyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  7. 7.PlanoUSA

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