Utilizing technology for global surgery: a survey of the West African College of Surgeons

Caroline Q. Stephens*, Arjun Ashok, Emmanuel A. Ameh, Mamta Swaroop, Benedict C. Nwomeh, Estin Yang, Sanjay Krishnaswami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Information and communication technology (ICT) has been heralded as a possible mechanism for expanding global surgery collaborations. However, little is known regarding feasibility of ICT use in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). We sought to determine the appropriate ICT platforms for surgical education initiatives and international collaborations. Materials and methods: We conducted a survey of members of the West African College of Surgeons. Topics included computer and internet access/utilization, familiarity with ICT, such as social media (SM), virtual document sharing platforms (VDS), virtual meeting applications (VM), and learning management systems (LM), and interest in ICT adoption. Statistical analyses were done using chi-squared tests, with Bonferroni corrections. Results: Survey respondents included 83 individuals from 10 countries, 50% of whom had been in practice >10 y. All had computer access, with most (95%) using SM compared to all other modalities (P < 0.001); 77% used SM for professional reasons and 57% for education. Sixty percent of participants used VDS, 73% of whom used it for education. The utilization of other ICTs was lower (VM 43%, LM 32%). Unreliable Wi-Fi hindered every ICT, less often SM (41%) and VDS (23%), and more commonly VM (64%) and LM (52%). Despite this, VM was most often used in international collaboration (79%, P < 0.01). Most respondents (98%) supported ICT use for international collaboration. Conclusions: ICT platforms can support education initiatives and international collaborations in resource-limited areas. Deployment of similar surveys and ICT workshops across other LMIC regions could maximize ICT utilization, further expanding global surgical collaborations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-208
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Capacity building
  • Global surgery
  • Information and communication technology
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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