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21.06.2017 | Ausgabe 12/2017

Surgical Endoscopy 12/2017

Mobile gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery in rural Ecuador: 20 years’ experience of Cinterandes

Surgical Endoscopy > Ausgabe 12/2017
H. T. Shalabi, M. D. Price, S. T. Shalabi, E. B. Rodas, A. L. Vicuña, B. Guzhñay, R. R. Price, E. Rodas
Wichtige Hinweise
Presented at the SAGES 2015 Annual Meeting, April 15–18, 2015, Nashville, Tennessee.



Five billion people worldwide do not have timely access to surgical care. Cinterandes is one of the only mobile surgical units in low- and middle-income countries. This paper examines the methodology that Cinterandes uses to deliver mobile surgery.


Founding and core staff were interviewed, four missions were participated in, and internal documents and records were analysed between 1 May and 1 July 2014.


Cinterandes performed 7641 operations over the last 20 years (60% gastrointestinal/laparoscopic), travelling 300,000 km to remote areas of Ecuador. The mobile surgery programme was initiated by a local Ecuadorian surgeon in 1980. Funding was acquired from businesses, private hospitals, and individuals, to fund a low-cost surgical truck, simple equipment, and running costs. The mobile surgical unit is a 24-foot modified Isuzu truck containing a preparation room with general equipment storage and running water, together with an operating room including the operating table, anaesthetic and surgical equipment. Mission structure includes: patient identification by a network of local medical personnel in remote regions; pre-operative assessment at 1 week by core team via teleconsultations; four-day surgical missions; post-operative recovery in tents or a local clinic; post-operative follow-up care by local personnel and remote teleconsultations. The permanent core team includes seven members; lead surgeon, lead anaesthetist, operating-room technician, medical coordinator, driver, general coordinator, and receptionist. Additional support members include seven regular surgeons, residents, medical students, and volunteers.


Surgery is a very effective way to gain the trust of the community, due to immediate results. Trust opens doors to other programmes (e.g. family medicine). Surgery can be incorporated with all other aspects of health care, which can in turn be incorporated with all other aspects of human development, education, food production and nutrition, housing, work and productivity, communication, and recreation.

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