Global Surgery: Addressing a Neglected Health Crisis

Surgery is an indispensable, indivisible part of basic health care provision and a pressing challenge in the field of global health. A staggering five billion people lack access to safe and affordable surgical and anesthesia care with nine out of ten people in low and middle income (LMIC’s) lacking access to basic surgical care. Deaths due to surgically treatable conditions outweigh those from HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria combined, and a third of the global burden of disease can be cured through surgical care.

While there has been significant progress in improving access to surgical care, the global burden of disease amenable to surgical intervention, such as trauma, cancer, and complications from childbirth, continues to grow. Access to safe, high-quality surgical and anesthesia care with financial protection when needed is a crucial component of global health and is essential to building a more equitable and sustainable healthcare landscape globally.

Global surgery encompasses all fields related to surgical care, including surgical sub-specialties, obstetrics and gynaecology, anaesthesia, perioperative care, emergency medicine, rehabilitation, palliative care, nursing and the allied health fields, among others. Improving access to timely, quality, and affordable surgical care for all requires a multifaceted approach that includes strengthening healthcare systems, training and deploying skilled surgical providers, and mobilizing resources to expand access to essential surgical services.