Surgery for children in low-income countries affected by humanitarian emergencies from 2008 to 2014: The Médecins Sans Frontières Operations Centre Brussels experience.
UNLABELLED Little is known about pediatric surgical disease in resource-poor countries. This study documents the surgical care of children in central Haiti and demonstrates the influence of the 2010 earthquake on pediatric surgical delivery. METHODS We conducted a retrospective review of operations performed at Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante hospitals in central Haiti. RESULTS Of 2,057 operations performed prior to the earthquake, 423 were pediatric (20.6%). Congenital anomalies were the most common operative indication (159/423 operations; 33.5%). Pediatric surgical volume increased significantly after the earthquake, with 670 operations performed (23.0% post-earthquake v. 20.6% pre-earthquake, p=.03). Trauma and burns became the most common surgical diagnoses after the disaster, and operations for non-traumatic conditions decreased significantly (p<.01). CONCLUSION Congenital anomalies represent a significant proportion of baseline surgical need in Haiti. A natural disaster can change the nature of pediatric surgical practice by significantly increasing demand for operative trauma care for months afterward.