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Adding Surgery to the Global Health Agenda

By Angie McCrone | 12 May, 2015

Over the last 20 years, surgical care has largely been left out of the global health agenda. The result is a world in which more than 5 billion people lack access to surgical care leading to unnecessary death and debilitating disability for many. At approximately 30% of the burden of disease, surgical conditions result in more deaths than HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

As governments and global health professionals transition their focus from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery—a group of 25 commissioners and collaborators from over 110 nations—looks at the role of governments, policy makers, nonprofits, funding agencies, academic institutions, professional associations, health care providers, and local communities in increasing access to global surgery and anesthesia in low-resource countries.

On May 6, The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery launched Global Surgery 2030: Evidence and Solutions for Achieving Health, Welfare, and Economic Development in Boston at Harvard Medical School. The commission shared their report, which shows that surgical care is highly cost-effective, but out-of-pocket expenses for patients can be detrimental to those living in impoverished communities.

The commission’s target is to reach at least 80% coverage of essential surgical and anaesthesia services worldwide. Although the cost of increasing surgical capacity in developing nations is estimated at $350 billion, the cost to the combined GDP of those nations for ignoring the need is close to $12.3 trillion. Reaching this target will not only contribute to the SDGs, it will also decrease poverty and increase economic productivity in the countries that need it the most.

As part of the launch, the Commission published three cases developed by the Global Health Delivery (GHD) Project at Harvard University highlighting surgical services and training models in Kenya and Pakistan. In collaboration with the Commission, we designed these cases to create and disseminate knowledge about surgical access and demand-generation, quality of care, education, and training in low-resource settings.

Our cases include:
Surgery at AIC Kijabe Hospital in Rural Kenya
Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) in Kenya
The Indus Hospital: Building Surgical Capacity in Pakistan

Our cases can be viewed with the link below.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the work of the commission. How do you see academic, governments, NGOs, and industry working together to make sure we can reach the goal of 80% coverage of essential surgical and anaesthesia services worldwide?

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This Community is Archived.

This community is no longer active as of December 2018. Thanks to those who posted here and made this information available to others visiting the site.