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Improving Global Surgery Addresses Development Needs

According to the World Health Organization, 5.8 million people die each year as a result of injuries. This is 32 percent more than the number of fatalities that result from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDs combined.

The most common life-threatening issues include road traffic, homicide and suicide. The World Health Organization also states that “injuries are a leading killer of youth.” Unfortunately, less attention has been directed toward surgical services in the developing world. A study in the Lancet Global Health Journal analyzed the factors that have contributed to this unmet need.

Key factors include:

  • Lack of leadership in the global surgery community
  • Disagreement on how to address the problem
  • Lack of effective efforts to take advantage of political actions
  • Minimal data on effects of surgical diseases

Despite these difficulties, there are networks committed to advancing the priority of global surgery. One promising solution is to link these efforts with other global health goals.

Basic surgical care could avert 1.5 million deaths per year. A few surgical diseases include blindness, fractures and appendicitis. While we may place less of an emphasis on these health issues, in comparison to HIV/AIDS for example, they still place significant burdens on the quality and productivity of life in developing communities.

It is important for the above factors to be addressed with existing organizations that have the structure and ability to bring attention to this goal. With adequate healthcare, communities in developing countries are more likely to develop in a sustainable and equitable manner.

Iliana Lang

Sources: World Health Organization, The Lancet
Photo: Unsplash