Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background Supervision by surgical specialists is beneficial because they can impart skills to district hospital-level surgical teams. The SURG-Africa project in Zambia comprises a mentoring trial in selected districts, involving two provincial-level mentoring teams. The aim of this paper is to explore policy options for embedding such surgical mentoring in existing policy structures through a participatory modeling approach. Methods Four group model building workshops were held, two each in district and central hospitals. Participants worked in a variety of institutions and had clinical and/or administrative backgrounds. Two independent reviewers compared the causal loop diagrams (CLDs) that resulted from these workshops in a pairwise fashion to construct an integrated CLD. Graph theory was used to analyze the integrated CLD, and dynamic system behavior was explored using the Method to Analyse Relations between Variables using Enriched Loops (MARVEL) method. Results The establishment of a provincial mentoring faculty, in collaboration with key stakeholders, would be a necessary step to coordinate and sustain surgical mentoring and to monitor district-level surgical performance. Quarterly surgical mentoring reviews at the provincial level are recommended to evaluate and, if needed, adapt mentoring. District hospital administrators need to closely monitor mentee motivation. Conclusions Surgical mentoring can play a key role in scaling up district-level surgery but its implementation is complex and requires designated provincial level coordination and regular contact with relevant stakeholders.

Original publication




Journal article




Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Publication Date





e0257597 - e0257597