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Injuries in Developing Countries - How Can We Help - The Role of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Abstract

Each year nearly 5 million people worldwide die from injuries, approximately the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Ninety percent of these injuries occur in developing countries and that number is growing. Road traffic accidents account for 1.2 million of these 5 million deaths. For each death from trauma, three to eight more are permanently disabled. Orthopaedic surgeons should consider the victims of this epidemic by using their ability and capacity to treat these injuries. SIGN (Surgical Implant Generation Network, Richland, WA, USA) builds local surgical capability in developing countries by providing training and equipment to surgeons for use in treating the poor. It assists in treating long-bone fractures by using an intramedullary nail interlocking screw system. C-arm imaging, unavailable in many of these hospitals, is not necessary to accomplish interlocking. Surgery is performed primarily by local surgeons who record their cases on the SIGN surgical database. Discussion of these reports provides a means of communication and education among surgeons. This database demonstrates the capability of these surgeons. It also demonstrates that the SIGN intramedullary nail is safe for use in the developing world as it has been successful in treating 36,000 trauma patients.

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