Global Surgery

Tue 13th

14:40 - 15:00

Five billion people, two-thirds of the world, lack access to safe, affordable surgery when needed. No one should die of a difficult pregnancy, road traffic accident, cancer diagnosis, injury or heart attack because they live too far away from a hospital or cannot afford the surgery. Yet 17 million lives are lost to surgically-preventable conditions every year, while 4 million are lost to Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS, combined. 2015 was a pivotal year for Global Surgery. The landmark Lancet Commission on Global Surgery report held surgically-treatable conditions accountable for 1/3 of global disease burden. The World Health Assembly recognised surgery as an essential component of healthcare, and surgery was prioritised in UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 for “good health and well-being”. Global Surgery needs surgeons, anaesthetists, obstetricians, but also economists, managers, technicians, engineers, statisticians, logisticians and innovators. How do we get surgery to 5 billion? Who can help and how? Why don’t we hear about Global Surgery?

Joanna Ashby


College of MVLS

I'm a third-year medical student at University of Glasgow. Last year I was the summer intern at the UCSF Global Surgery department in San Francisco, California. There, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people in the Global Surgery field, on projects which combined interests in Global Health, Surgery and Public Health Inequalities. Working on a report which reviewed existing National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans, or "N-SOAPs", in low-resource settings, opened my eyes to the lack of surgery around the world. It also inspired an interest in how recent breakthroughs and innovations in tech, such as machine learning and blockchain, could be really important in achieving safe and affordable surgery for all around the world.