Essential Surgery: Key Messages of this Volume

Authors: Charles Mock, Peter Donkor, Atul Gawande, Dean Jamison, Margaret Kruk, Haile Debas


Provision of essential surgical procedures would avert approximately 1.5 million deaths a year in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); essential surgical procedures rank among the most cost-effective of all health interventions; access to surgery, task-sharing with nonphysician personnel, and safe anesthesia deserve public investment; the surgical care in LMICs poorly compares in safety and quality of services to high-income countries (HICs); and universal coverage of essential surgery (UCES) should be financed. The surgically avertable disease burden in LMICs shows that 1.5 million deaths per year could be averted and needs further study to develop metrics for ongoing monitoring. Cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analysis merit study in various surgical platforms, such as short-term surgical missions and specialized hospitals. Challenges to access come from the shortage of qualified surgeons, lack of safe anesthesia, and inadequate equipment and supplies; low-cost approaches can overcome some of these barriers, especially through improved planning and logistics.

This chapter is also available in Spanish. Access the Spanish version below. 
Este capítulo también está disponible en español. Acceda a la versión en español abajo.