Global Pediatric Surgery


Why is global surgery important?

Approximately five billion people lack access to surgical care - most of whom reside in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) [1]. In fact, nine out of 10 people in LMICs lack access to basic surgical services that prevent disability and save lives [2]. While historically the field of global health has been focused on infectious disease, such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, it is now estimated that 30% of the global burden of disease is amenable to surgical intervention [3]. In fact, noncommunicable diseases are now claiming more lives globally than infectious diseases [4], and an estimated 1.5 million deaths could be averted each year if patients had surgical access [3]. When considering that surgical care is needed for the treatment of congenital anomalies, cancer, trauma and infectious sequelae, it is easy to understand that surgery is a necessary part of global health care.

Three cardinal events occurred in 2015 that helped highlight the importance of expanding universal access and improving the quality and safety of surgical, anesthetic and emergent care worldwide [5]. For the first time, the World Bank included an Essential Surgery Volume in the third Edition of Disease Control Priorities (DCP3) [3]. A landmark report from the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery was released, estimating the unmet burden of surgical disease and identifying bellwether surgical procedures (Caesarean delivery, laparotomy and treatment of open fractures) that were used to assess access to emergent surgical care for the adult population [1]. Finally, the World Health Assembly (WHA) unanimously passed resolution A68/15 on Strengthening Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and Anesthesia as a Component of Universal Health Coverage [6][7].

see also Injury Prevention and Conflict and Disaster Relief

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Last updated: November 2, 2020