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Did You Know : 5 Billion People Worldwide Do Not Have Access To Basic Surgical Care


The idea of not having the ability to visit an emergency room, or hospital for a broken arm, or the birth of a child is one that most Americans cannot imagine. While our healthcare system isn’t perfect, America still has some of the top doctors and surgical facilities in the world. Sadly, this is the not case for every country; in fact, more than two-thirds of the global population – around 5 billion people – have no access to safe and affordable surgery.

A recent study published in The Lancet is shocking for many, as the number has nearly doubled since previous estimates. This equates to millions of people dying from easily treatable maladies including obstructed labor and appendicitis. The majority of the people without access to care live in low and middle-income countries; about 93% of people in sub-Saharan Africa alone cannot get basic surgical care.

Andy Leather, one of the study’s lead authors, explained that this study focused on the availability of surgery, whether people can travel to facilities within two hours, whether the surgery was safe and whether patients can actually afford treatment. Leather states that people are dying or becoming disabled due to the lack of access and that this could be prevented through different approaches. The researcher team recommends greater awareness by developed countries on the plight of those without access to surgical care.

The study authors suggest an estimated $440 billion dollar investment to be split among countries that can afford to support the initiative. The money could go to building facilities, hiring and training more skilled doctors and surgeons and sending specialists into rural areas to train local residents on basic medical and surgical care. In addition, education on health and safety is vital in order to prevent certain diseases and injuries altogether.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Nithi Anand

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