Geographical Distribution of Neurosurgeons and Emergency Neurosurgical Services in Pakistan

Saqib Kamran Bakhshi, Zara Shah, Mujtaba Khalil, M. Ayub Khan Mughal, Abdul Momin Kazi, Qurat Ul Ain Virani, Rashid Jooma, Michael Christopher Dewan, Muhammad Shahzad Shamim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and Objective: According to the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS), a minimum neurosurgery workforce density should be 1 per 200,000 population for optimum access to neurosurgical care. Pakistan lags behind in the number of neurosurgeons, and disproportionate geographical distribution further increases disparity. Our objective was to geographically map the density of neurosurgeons and emergency neurosurgical services (ENS) in Pakistan. Methods: This survey was circulated among 307 neurosurgeons. Data were analyzed using SPSS v21. The number of neurosurgeons and ENS were plotted on the population density map using ArcGIS Pro 3.0.0 software. Results: Three hundred and seven neurosurgeons working at 74 centers responded to our survey (93.3% coverage). The current density of neurosurgeons in Pakistan is 0.14/100,000. The 2 more populous provinces, Punjab and Sindh, have 42.3% (130) and 35.8% (110) neurosurgeons, respectively. They also housed nearly 3 quarters of all the neurosurgery centers in urban districts. Karachi and Lahore accommodate 135 (44%) of all the country's neurosurgeons, having 0.29 and 0.51 neurosurgeons/100,000 respectively. Management of traumatic brain injury is offered at 65 centers (87.8%). Nearly all centers are equipped with computed tomography (CT) scan machine (74; 97%), but magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility is available at 55 (72%) centers and 37 (49%) centers have angiography suites. Sixty nine centers (93.2%) have C-arm fluoroscopes available. Conclusions: The geographical mapping of neurosurgeons and neurosurgical facilities is highly skewed towards urban centers, increasing disparity in access to timely neurosurgical emergency services. Four times more neurosurgeons are required in Pakistan to bridge the gap in neurosurgical workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e515-e522
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Volume179
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Geographical distribution
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Neurosurgical services
  • Pakistan

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