The first leg of the Spring Mission commenced May 21st. Marj Ratel and foundation partner Dr. John Sampson (representing Johns Hopkins Medicine) attended the G4 Alliance Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. Sponsored by General Electric Foundation and Safe Surgery 2030, the 3 day event was held at the Intercontinental Hotel and Conference Centre, across the street from the UN and WHO. A 5 star facility, many of the participants including us stayed in alternative more cost effective accommodation across the city. Daily accommodation costs increased significantly the closer to the annual World Health Assembly meetings. The advantage of the location and time is that meetings with country representatives from Africa and around the world are possible.
The Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care (the ‘G4 Alliance’) was formally launched at an event in Geneva attended by government ministers, health advocates and medical specialists in May 2015. The aim of the G4 Alliance is to advocate for the neglected surgical patient, to highlight the vital role of surgical care in averting premature death and significant morbidity from maternal health issues or complications of injury, and to integrate surgical care with existing public health frameworks in a collaborative and mutually beneficial way.
Five billion people around the world are unable to access safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia care when needed, according to the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery report (publicly endorsed by KBNF when released). Out of the 313 procedures performed each year, only 6% are done for the poorest third of the world’s population. For road traffic injury victims, lack of emergency trauma care, safe surgical facilities or rehabilitation services can seriously exacerbate the impact and severity of injuries, while failure to provide care during the ‘Golden Hour’ after a crash often proves fatal. The Lancet Commission’s report argues that “surgery has proven to be a very cost-effective intervention, and failure to treat surgical conditions threatens to significantly compromise the economic productivity of countries. Widespread integration and scale-up of surgical care around the world is necessary to reach new targets for Universal Health Coverage, the Sustainable Development Goals and creation of resilient health systems.”
Responding to the efforts of the G4 Alliance over recent months, as well as to other advocates, health ministers at the World Health Assembly approved Resolution 68/31 on 22 May 2015 which included a call to “identify and prioritize a core set of emergency and essential surgery and anaesthesia services at the primary health care and first referral hospital level, and to develop methods & financing systems for making quality, safe, effective and affordable emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia services accessible to all who need it”.
Stay tuned for more to come!