, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 1462-1469
Date: 13 Nov 2012

World Health Organization Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care: 2011 and Beyond

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Introduction

The world’s burden of surgical diseases is large and increasing. Unfortunately, <5 % of all surgical procedures are performed in countries ranked within the lowest one-third in terms of per-capita health expenditures [1]. The unmet need for surgical care results in unacceptable morbidity/mortality rates associated with a host of conditions (trauma, pregnancy-related complications, other emergencies). This is especially true for rural and marginalized populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recognizing that variations in the spectrum of surgical diseases are observed among and within countries, “essential” surgery and anesthesia may be viewed as a core group of services that can be delivered within the context of universal access. These high-priority interventions are those for which: (1) there is a large public health burden; (2) the treatment is highly successful; (3) the treatment is cost-effective [2].

To date, essential surgery and anesthesia have receiv