Global Surgery: Towards Equitable Surgical Systems

March 9, 2016

On March 7–8, 2016, nearly 50 experts in global surgery from 19 countries convened for the symposium, Global Surgery: Towards Equitable Surgical Systems. Center faculty members Dr. John Meara and Lubna Samad led the meeting in coordination with the Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Fellows Saurabh Saluja, Nakul Raykar, Yihan Lin and Swagoto Mukhopadhyay, and Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Associate Allison Silverstein. The meeting was hosted by the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery–Dubai. The meeting’s aim was to harness the growing momentum for prioritizing surgical system strengthening worldwide and direct efforts towards effective action.

The two-day meeting brought together a diverse group of international leaders including representatives of Ministries of Health, NGOs, professional societies, industry partners, and advocacy organizations. Symposium members represented countries from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. All participants arrived with a keen interest in advancing equitable surgical care and offered their home country experience on how to do so. 

Represented organizations included the College of Surgeons of East; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa; Madagascar Ministry of Health; Indus Hospital; University of Philippines; Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care; Zambia Ministry of Health; Tajikistan Ministry of Health; and G4 Alliance, among others.

The symposium was structured around a five-domain framework for developing national surgical plans: workforce, infrastructure, information management, financing, and service delivery.  In small group sessions designed to promote cross-learning through open discussion, participants and facilitators discussed key issues in each of the domains with a focus on processes and action items that will lead to meaningful change. The overarching goal was to take national surgical planning from an academic exercise to an actionable process. Specifically, meeting participants came together to produce a surgical implementation plan for countries such as Madagascar, India, Pakistan, Cape Verde, and Zambia. By the end of the symposium, participants developed a roadmap by which current and new partners can embark on national surgical planning processes in their home countries.

View photos from the Global Surgery: Towards Equitable Surgical Systems event.

Meeting proceedings will follow as well as a formal publication from the group gathered in Dubai.