Andy Leather (King’s Centre for Global Health and Health Partnerships) was appointed one of the three co-chairs of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, which launched in 2014 and published its landmark report one year later - Global Surgery 2030: evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare, and economic development.
The report highlights the role of surgical and anaesthesia care in improving health and economic productivity, with five key messages :
- 5 billion people lack access to safe, affordable surgical and anaesthesia care when needed
- 143 million additional surgical procedures are needed each year to save lives and prevent disability
- 33 million individuals face catastrophic health expenditure due to payment for surgery and anaesthesia each year
- Investment in surgical and anaesthesia services is affordable, saves lives, and promotes economic growth
- Surgery is an indivisible, indispensable part of health care
President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim, called for a ‘shared vision and strategy for global equity in essential surgical care,’ at the first meeting of the Commission in January 2014, stating ‘surgery is an indivisible, indispensable part of health care.’
King’s is working to drive this vision and strategy forward, by ensuring global surgery is an integrated component in building and strengthening healthcare systems in countries where there is urgent need. The Centre for Global Health under King’s Health Partners works in partnership with teams in Sierra Leone, Somaliland and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), helping to increase access to surgical and anaesthesia care for people in these areas, through policy development, undergraduate and postgraduate training.
Primary research into global surgery at King’s is broad and includes global and national surgical policy, the population and economic burden of surgical conditions, the cost effectiveness of surgical care, and implementation science to improve access to surgical care, quality and patient safety. As part of the NIHR Global Health Research Unit ASSET the Global Surgery group at King’s will be working with partners at Addis Ababa University (AAU), and the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS, Sierra Leone) to design, implement and evaluate health system strengthening interventions with the aim of increasing surgical volume, and reducing perioperative mortality and complications.