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Lasting impact: a qualitative study of perspectives on surgery by adult recipients of free mission-based surgical care in Benin

Close, Kristin and Christie-de Jong, Floor (2019) Lasting impact: a qualitative study of perspectives on surgery by adult recipients of free mission-based surgical care in Benin. BMJ Open. pp. 1-8. ISSN 2044-6055

Item Type: Article


Objectives This study aimed to explore how adult patients who received free mission-based elective surgery experienced surgery and its outcomes, in order to provide recommendations for improved service delivery, measurement of impact and future quality initiatives for the humanitarian organisation Mercy Ships and other mission-based surgical platforms.

Setting Data were collected in June 2017 in Cotonou, Benin, where the participants had previously received free mission-based elective surgery aboard the Africa Mercy, a non-governmental hospital ship.

Participants Sixteen patients (seven male, nine female, age range 22–71, mean age 43.25) who had previously received surgical care aboard the Africa Mercy hospital ship between September 2016 and May 2017 participated in the study.

Methods Using a qualitative design, 16 individual semistructured interviews were conducted with the assistance of two interpreters. Participants were recruited using purposive sampling from the Mercy Ships patient database. Interview data were coded and organised into themes and subthemes using thematic content analysis in an interpretivist approach.

Findings Analysis of interview data revealed three main themes: barriers to surgery, experiences with Mercy Ships and changes in perspectives of surgery after their experiences. Key findings included barriers to local surgical provision such as cost, a noteworthy amount of fear and distrust of local surgical teams, exceptional positive experiences with the care at Mercy Ships, and impactful surgery, resulting in high levels of trust in foreign surgical teams.

Conclusions While foreign surgical teams are meeting an immediate need for surgical care, the potential enduring legacy is one of trusting only foreigners for surgery. Patients are a critical component to a well-functioning surgical system, and mission-based surgical providers must formulate strategies to mitigate this legacy while strengthening the local surgical system.

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Depositing User: Floor Christie


Item ID: 11234
Identification Number: bmjopen-2018-028235
ISSN: 2044-6055
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ORCID for Floor Christie-de Jong: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2019 13:38
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 11:30


Author: Floor Christie-de Jong ORCID iD
Author: Kristin Close

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Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology


Sciences > Health Sciences

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