Why surgery, and why now?
From a childbirth to a cancer diagnosis, surgery is often the best solution for a patient's recovery - and sometimes the only chance they have at survival. As you read this text, nearly five billion people worldwide do not have access to safe surgery, based on how quickly, affordably, and safely they receive care when needed. The access gap disproportionately affects low-and middle-income countries. To close the gap, we need to overcome challenges that spread across the entire spectrum of care.
Mind the gap(s)!
Low-income regions depend on less than two operating theaters per 100,000 people, while high-income regions have 14 on average. One in three hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa does not have reliable water and electricity.
Between 50% and 80% of the equipment in low-resource hospitals is out of service at any given time. A recent study in Ethiopia showed that equipment repairs can take between two weeks to a year.
Low-income regions rely on only two surgeons for every 100,000 people, while in the US the number of surgeons is nine. The situation with anesthesiologists is nearly identical: less than five per 100,000 people across 23 LMICs, compared to 11 in the US.
Less than half of all hospitals in Africa have effective infection control procedures. In Togo, one in 150 patients dies from avoidable anesthesia complications.