Introduction: The first step in improving surgical care delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is quantifying surgical need. The Surgeons OverSeas Assessment of Surgical Need (SOSAS) is a validated household survey that has been previously implemented in three LMICs with great success. We implemented the SOSAS survey in Uganda, a medium-sized country with comparatively more language and ethnic group diversity.
Methods: The investigators partnered with the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) Uganda to access a data collection platform sampling 2520 households in 105 randomly selected enumeration areas. Due to geographic size consideration and language diversity, SOSAS's methodology was updated in three significant dimensions (1) technology, (2) staff management, and (3) questionnaire adaptations.
Results: The SOSAS survey was successfully implemented with non-medically trained but field proven research assistants. We sampled 2315 of 2402 eligible households (response rate 96.4 %) and 4248 of 4374 eligible individual respondents (response rate 97.1 %). The female-to-male ratio was 51.1-48.9 %. Total survey cost was USD 73,145 and data collection occurred in 14 days.
Discussion: SOSAS Uganda has demonstrated that non-medically trained, but university-educated, experienced researchers supervised by academic surgeons can successfully perform accurate data collection of SOSAS. SOSAS can be successfully implemented within larger and more diverse LMICs using existing national survey platforms, and SOSAS Uganda provides insights on how SOSAS can be executed specifically within other PMA2020 program countries.