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Safe Surgery Initiative

Photo courtesy of the Safe Surgery Initiative

Photo courtesy of the Safe Surgery Initiative

This #MemberMonday, we’ll hear from Keith Miles, Executive Director, from Safe Surgery Initiative!

Organization Details: Safe Surgery Initiative is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

When did you begin?
In 2009 on the coast of Benin, standing on the deck of Mercy Ship Africa, Willie Miles looked out on the horizon as hundreds of people lined up to received surgical care. It was a transformative moment for him. A moment that would be the genesis for the creation of the Safe Surgery Initiative. What started off as a two-week mission became a lifelong passion to help the disadvantaged peoples of the world received life-saving surgical care.

Now he wasn’t a surgeon, a doctor, or a nurse. He wouldn’t be the one performing life-saving surgery that restored sight, or corrected disabilities. But what he could do is make sure the people performing these surgeries had the best surgical tools at their disposal. As a Clinical Instrument Repair Consultant, he manage surgical instruments inventories and refurbished those instruments. He could make sure the instruments cut, bit, grasp, and function to the surgeon’s expectation. Reducing the risk of instrument malfunction during surgery. That’s how SSI supports the global efforts of surgical mission teams, charities and hospitals. These organizations provide medical care to the disadvantaged peoples of the world and SSI provides instruments of mercy to help them perform surgeries.

Photo courtesy of the Safe Surgery Initiative

Photo courtesy of the Safe Surgery Initiative

Mission/Vision
Safe Surgery Initiative (SSI) provides on-site surgical instrument refurbishment, capacity building, and education to medical facilities in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).We strengthen local surgical care services with our repair and educational programs. To increase access to essential surgery that could prevent 1.5 million deaths a year.

Where Do You Work?
SSI deploys teams to medical facilities in LMICs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America. We set up onsite surgical instrument repair labs and provide education in proper sterilization protocols.

How Are You Changing Lives?
By providing our services we improve the outcomes of surgical procedures and patient safety. Increase the efficiency of O.R theaters and reduce surgical site infection rates with our sterile/sharp training program. SSI supports the life changing missions of health networks, hospitals, and NGOs. Our programs are designed to improve the good works our partners provide on a daily basis.

What is One Thing You Want People To Know About Your Organization?
As an organization that provides a unique service in the Global Surgery movement, we want people to know that SSI is here to help improve patient safety by refurbishing surgical instrument inventories. They don't have to continue using substandard tools because no one has the skill set to repair instruments properly.  SSI has trained technicians that will bring this much needed skill set to your hospital.

Photo courtesy of the Safe Surgery Initiative

Photo courtesy of the Safe Surgery Initiative

What Exciting Plans Do You Have for 2019 – and Beyond?
We’re excited to be a new member of the G4 Alliance and forming partnerships with members.

We’ve been looking forward to implementing our Clinical Instrument Repair Technician (CIRT) program. A multi-discipline curriculum to address the needs of hospital providing surgical care in low resource environments. Surgical instrument repair is standard program for hospitals in developed countries. Repairing surgical instruments saves money, reduces waste and is safe. Unfortunately, these valued technical and clinical skills are unavailable to developing countries. Forcing local hospitals to continue using unsafe surgical equipment, purchasing low quality replacements, or relying on donated equipment from hospitals in developed countries. These situations pose increase patient safety issue to people seeking surgical care in local hospitals and overburdens developing healthcare systems. SSI’s programs will provide LMIC's hospitals with safe surgical instruments and a sustainable, local workforce that can provide preventive maintenance.

The CIRT program was designed by Clinical Instrument Repair Consultants and manufacturing industry leaders, the program provides a comprehensive, hands-on, career-oriented curriculum. Participants will obtain a solid education in surgical instrument/industry fundamentals, sterile processing protocols, and healthcare/inventory management essentials. We will train trainers to produce systemic change with continued support from SSI.