Global Surgery and Poverty

Authors: William P. Schecter, Sweta Adhikari


This chapter compares the distribution of surgical resources between high-income countries (HICs) and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), finding the disparity striking. Suboptimal quality of trauma and orthopedic care in LMICs leads to an excessive number of amputations, with detrimental effects on mobility and quality of life. To reduce maternal mortality requires the presence of trained attendants at all births and access to obstetric care. The majority of burn cases occur in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, probably due to use of open fires for cooking and heating. The number of new cancer cases diagnosed annually is expected to increase 70 percent by 2030, with the largest increases projected in LMICs. Some 90 percent of visually impaired people live in LMICs, and blindness and poverty are closely correlated. The cost of emergency obstetric care frequently leads to catastrophic health spending for a family. Injuries likewise can devastate low-income households through both actual treatment costs and lost wages of the injured persons and family caregivers who must take time off from work.



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