AMPATH surgical app: Low-cost simulator for the open appendectomy

Published:September 18, 2022DOI:



      Due to a shortage and maldistribution of surgeons within Kenya, doctors with limited formal surgical training often perform emergency surgical procedures such as appendectomy. This lack of training can compromise patient outcomes and complicate care delivery. Our aim was to develop a low-cost simulator and skills curriculum to effectively teach open appendectomy.


      Surgeons from 4 countries participated in semi-structured interviews to define the steps and technique of open appendectomy using cognitive task analysis. Using this input, our Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare surgical team developed a curriculum, including a simulator and feedback mechanism. Surgeons and surgical trainees from Kenya and the United States tested the simulator prototype and provided feedback for its refinement based on clarity, utility, and realism.


      Instructions for a self-constructed simulator were developed at the cost of 70 Kenyan shillings (0.64 US dollars). Fifteen surgeons and surgical residents gave feedback on the simulator and curriculum, and each was presented with an updated version based on feedback. Overall, the curriculum was clear, with each sub-step receiving a median score of ≥83.5 out of 100 for clarity; however, through iterative design, the utility of sub-steps on the simulator improved.


      A comprehensive open appendectomy curriculum, including a low-cost appendectomy simulator model, was developed and refined using surgeon feedback. Such curricula may benefit trainees in low-resource settings who may otherwise have limited access to quality training material.
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