Specialist shortage in developing countries: comprehending delays in care

Reference: Khan KJRaza VF Specialist shortage in developing countries: comprehending delays in care,

In developed countries we take appendectomies or cholecystectomies as minor bred and butter procedures. These are life saving procedures often performed in due time in developed countries. The case presented to us by Khan & Raza underlines the difficulty in timely and affordable access to procedures performed by specialists. The dearth of the latter in the public sector and catastrophic health expenditures contribute to inadequate access to care.

The patient whose case was reported here underwent significant financial and medical complications due to the untimely availability of an urgent to emergent procedure.

Bankruptcy as a consequence of medical assistance is an unacceptable concept yet an unfortunate reality both in developing and developed countries. Here the patient expended over half their yearly income in order to undergo a procedure through a private practitioner leaving the family in a dire financial situation. A solution put forth in this case is the use of crowdfunding which taps into the online community in order to raise funds for individuals. Here physicians proceeded to contribute in financing of the care of the patient which is not uncommon in countries where finance limits access to health. As mentioned in the case report the government carries little of the financial burden of patients in public hospitals. Unfortunately this leads to self funding by an already struggling population, leading to loss of work days, and medical complications which could have been avoided.

Medical financial burden and lack of access to medical specialists in developing countries is widespread. A salient point in this case report is the length of illness due to avoidable complications brought forth by the lack of timely access to a surgical procedure.


Author: Chloe Pinto M.D.