Surgery on a budget: Saving lives where there's no anesthesiologist

The author, Ashley Eberhart, is the acting program manager at Safe Surgery 2020 and a senior consultant at Dalberg.

It’s just past noon, and white-coated students bustle across the courtyard of the university hospital. It’s a classic medical school scene, but what’s happening inside one classroom is anything but ordinary. Dr. Henry Mosley, a professor from Johns Hopkins, is coaching physicians and nurses through a series of increasingly absurd tasks. “I’d like all of you to fit your feet on this piece of paper,” the professor says to a group of seven, gesturing toward a letter-size sheet.

Dr. Mosley’s activities illustrate today’s big lesson: surgical teams must think outside the box to create solutions that maximize results, even when resources are scarce and challenges seem daunting, as they often seem here in Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia.