Surgery has a crucial role to play in achieving universal health coverage and fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. Sustainable provision of surgical care and anaesthesia is a critical part of integrated primary health care.
These needs are becoming more widely recognized by the international public health community and by global policymakers. For the first time ever, a WHA global heath resolution has been formally proposed for 2015.
In most high-income countries, surgery and anaesthesia are integrated as part of the basic continuum of care. However, throughout much of the developing world, surgical care remains a neglected but critically needed component of universal health coverage. When access to safe essential surgeries is deficient, easily treatable surgical conditions can lead to devastating lifelong disability, social exclusion, economic hardship, and even death. This is the reality for over a third of the global population, which lacks access to basic, cost-effective and life-saving surgical procedures to treat simple conditions such as obstructed labor, maternal hemorrhage, congenital birth defects such as clubfoot and cleft lip, traumatic injuries and accidents, soft tissue infections, and hernias.
In preparation for the 2015 introduction of a WHA global surgery resolution, we encourage all stakeholders to join in advocacy efforts by reaching out to national government representatives, professional associations, and leaders within the field to advocate for surgery and anaesthesia as critical components of universal health coverage.
For more information on the need and role of essential surgery please visit The Right to Heal and check back here on the ICES website for updates.