Global Surgery 


∙ Global surgery is the neglected component in global health, especially in South Asia.

What is global surgery?

∙ Global surgery refers to the provision of surgical care on a global scale, with a focus on addressing the disparities in access to surgical services and improving surgical outcomes worldwide.

∙ These “surgeries” include essential and emergency surgeries such as surgery, obstetrics, trauma, and anaesthesia (SOTA).

∙ While it predominantly focuses on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), it also prioritizes access disparities and under-served populations in high-income countries (HICs).

Global Scenario

∙ According to the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS) five billion people or over 70% of the global population lack timely access to safe and affordable surgical care when needed.

∙ Of the five billion people, over 1.6 billion people lacking access live in South Asia.

∙ Most severely, 99% and 96% of the people in low-and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs) respectively, face access gaps compared to 24% in high-income countries (HICs).


∙ In 2010, around 17 million deaths were attributed to surgically treatable conditions, surpassing the combined mortality burden of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

∙ The disease burden also leads to an economic burden. The cumulative projected loss to GDP due to the absence of scale-up of surgical care is estimated to be $20.7 trillion across 128 countries by 2030.

Steps taken for Global Surgery

∙ In India the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has provided millions of surgeries at zero or negligible cost to the bottom 40% of Indians.

∙ In South Asia, Pakistan has formulated a National Surgical Care Vision and Nepal has initiated a national surgical, obstetrics, and anaesthesia plan (NSOAP).

Way ahead

∙ Research and innovation, policy focus, and sustained financing are key to solving global surgery challenges.

∙ Organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and non-profit groups can play a significant role in promoting global surgery initiatives.

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