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Open Access Debate

High-tech and low-tech orthopaedic surgery in Sub-Saharan Africa

Wolfram H Kluge1* and Heike I Bauer2

Author affiliations

1 Clinic of Orthopedics, Rudolf Elle Hospital Eisenberg, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany

2 Clinic of Dermatology and Allergology, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC International Health and Human Rights 2002, 2:1  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-2-1

Published: 26 February 2002

Abstract

Background

Zambia's governmental health system suffers from shortage of surgical supplies and poor management skills for the sparse resources at hand. The situation has been worsened by the dual epidemics of HIV disease and tuberculosis. On the other hand the private medical sector has benefited greatly from less bureaucracy under the goverment of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy.

Discussion

The Zambian-Italian Orthopaedic Hospital in Lusaka is a well organized small unit providing free treatment of physically disabled children. The running costs are met from the fees charged for private consultations, supplemented by donations. State of the art surgical techniques are being used for congenital and acquired musculo-skeletal abnormalities. Last year 513 patients were operated upon free of charge and 320 operations were performed on private patients.