The Place of Surgery in International Development workshop affords a unique opportunity to present the role that surgery, in its broad definition, plays in global health care and development.
All health care systems must address conditions that are common, particularly those that carry high risk of mortality or morbidity. A significant number of the common, high-risk conditions are surgical – a fact that has been under-appreciated by the international community for years.
Thankfully, attitudes are changing. Faced with a global burden of disease from causes such as trauma and obstetrical complications, international organizations and national governments are increasingly aware of the need for essential surgical service and for the prevention of injury. However, in many low-income regions, surgical care either does not exist at all or is too meager to cope with the need.
The surgical voice is not always heard in discussions on international health, owing largely to its stereotypical backdrop of costliness and institutional centralization. However, the concept of essential surgical care is increasingly understood as being part of the basic care to which all humans have a right. The fact that an overwhelming proportion of the global burden of surgical disease is borne by populations in disadvantaged, vulnerable and low-income regions of the world makes this workshop all the more pertinent. The number of preventable deaths each year from common surgical problems where there is simply no access to even basic surgical care extends into the millions.
The workshop informs of the underlying issues and principles of international surgery. The focus is surgery, of which surgeons are only a part. Surgery, itself, is broad and involves team members from multiple disciplines within and outside the health sector. The workshop allows the participants to apply this information to real projects through interactive sessions, giving them a chance to reflect on how they can become involved.
The Place of Surgery in Development Instructors Guide is available for purchase through the CNIS Store.