Charities may send developed-world surgeons overseas to provide treatment directly or may train/fund surgeons in the developing world. The conditions they work on include:
- Repairing cataracts, which can impair vision.
- Repairing obstetric fistulas, which can be severely debilitating to young women.
- Repairing cleft lip/palate conditions (a split in the lip or the roof of the mouth), which can cause speech and eating problems.
Donors should ask the following questions about surgery-focused charities:
- What is the bottleneck to more surgeries: money or skilled labor? In many cases, funding may not be the bottleneck to more surgeries—surgeons are.
- How is quality assured? Charities that fly developed-world surgeons overseas may be putting them in highly unfamiliar environments with unusually difficult conditions. Charities that support developing-world surgeons are relying on people whose medical education may be very different from what is standard in the developed world.
- Many surgeries require followup care. Is it provided? When is one surgery enough?
*Although GiveWell has not yet identified a developing-world surgery organization that it can confidently recommend, it believes that ReSurge International (formerly Interplast) stands out for its transparency. View the GuideStar report for ReSurge International (formerly Interplast)
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