What is Essential Surgery?

Basic surgical interventions that save lives and prevent permanent disability and life-threatening conditions. Essential surgery should - and can - be safe, accessible, and affordable to people worldwide regardless of income or geography. These interventions are common and  basic procedures that meet high standards of care even in limited resource settings, and require only modest infrastructure. 


2 billion people lack access to the most basic surgery.

What happens without it?

  • Minor injuries become life-threatening.
  • Common birth-defects become life-long disabilities.
  • Otherwise easily-treated conditions can become lethal.
  • Childbirth difficulties become obstetric disasters.

Why aren't there enough surgeons?

It takes over a decade and thousands of dollars to fully train a FULLY COMPETENT GENERAL surgeon.

  • Millions of people suffer because there are not enough trained surgeons available in district hospitals around the world.
  • High quality essential surgical training can be provided at a fraction of the cost and less than half the time it takes to train traditional surgeons.

Essential surgical providers are healthcare professionals -- working in local hospitals -- trained in specific surgical interventions.

They can fill a critical healthcare gap in developing countries.

Many essential surgeries can be performed, by non-MDs, at first point-of-care health facilities (rural or district hospital, health centre, or primary healthcare facility) as long as the providers possess specialized skills and some basic equipment.  This approach, known as task-shifting, is an affordable, viable, and sustainable solution that saves time and lives.