Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 343–351 | Cite as

Characterizing pediatric surgical capacity in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: results of a pilot study

  • Sarah B. CairoEmail author
  • Luc Malemo Kalisya
  • Richard Bigabwa
  • David H. Rothstein
Original Article



Characterize pediatric surgical capacity in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to identify areas of potential improvement.


The Pediatric Personnel, Infrastructure, Procedures, Equipment, and Supplies (PediPIPES) survey was used in two representative eastern DRC provinces to assess existing surgical infrastructure and capacity. We compared our results to previously published reports from other sub-Saharan African countries.


Fourteen hospitals in the eastern DRC and 37 in 19 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries were compared. The average PediPIPES index for the DRC was 7.7 compared to 13.5 for SSAs. The greatest disparities existed in the areas of personnel and infrastructure. Running water was reportedly available to 57.1% of the hospitals in the DRC, and the majority of hospitals (78.6%) were dependent on generators and solar panels for electricity. Only two hospitals in the DRC (14.3%) reported a pediatric surgeon equivalent on staff, compared to 86.5% of facilities sampled in SSA reporting ≥ 1 pediatric surgeon.


Significant barriers in personnel, infrastructure, procedures, equipment, and supplies impede the provision of adequate surgical care to children. Further work is needed to assess allocation and utilization of existing resources, and to enhance training of personnel with specific attention to pediatric surgery.


Pediatric surgery Disparities Global surgery Africa Surgical capacity Needs assessment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no potential conflicts of interest, including financial interests and relationships or affiliations relevant to the subject of this manuscript and research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah B. Cairo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luc Malemo Kalisya
    • 2
  • Richard Bigabwa
    • 3
  • David H. Rothstein
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Pediatric SurgeryJohn R Oshei Children’s HospitalBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.HEAL Africa Hospital and College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA)Goma, Democratic Republic of CongoCongo
  3. 3.Nurse AnesthetistGoma, Democratic Republic of CongoCongo
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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