Lancet Commission on Global Surgery

Welcome to the December 2015 newsletter of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The year may be drawing to a close, but the Commission has no shortage of exciting news as we progress toward building a global health network and providing safe, affordable, and accessible care for all.  This month, we highlight the release of our World Development Indicators report, the 2015 COSECSA Conference, and our launch in South Africa.  Thank you for a great year, and happy reading!

World Development Indicators Report

World Development Indicators Report

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery indicators report, Data for the Sustainable Development of Surgical Systems, is now available! Measurement is the first step toward understanding and improvement. To better understand the current state of surgical care in countries around the world, the Commission’s leadership convened a working group on surgical indicators in June, 2015. In collaboration with ministries of health, this group attempted to gather the best available information on the Commission’s six indicators for each of the 215 countries or independent economies for which data are kept by the World Bank.
  1. These indicators assess:
  2. The geographic accessibility of surgical facilities,
  3. The density of specialist surgical providers (surgeons, anaesthetists, and obstetricians),
  4. The number of surgical procedures provided per 100,000 population,
  5. Perioperative mortality rates,
  6. The risk of impoverishing expenditure when surgery is required, and
  7. The risk of catastrophic expenditure when surgery is required.
Taken together, these can promote a better understanding of each country’s surgical system. These data provide a baseline against which improvements can be measured during the era of the Sustainable Development Goals. We hope they yield useful insights for ministries of health looking to strengthen the delivery of safe, timely, and affordable surgical care in countries of all income levels.We heartily thank all ministries of health and academic institutions that provided data. They are listed in Appendix 6 of the report.

If you are interested in learning more, please explore our Global Indicator Initiative.  



The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) held its annual Scientific Conference in Blantyre, Malawi earlier this month. The Scientific Conference highlights cutting edge surgical research being done in the region and around the world.  Many surgeons and researchers who have taken part in the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS) came together as hosts or collaborators in this important work. LCoGS co-chairs Dr. John Meara and Mr. Andy Leather both shared updates on the work of the commission as well as the vision for next steps focused on supporting those countries that are developing national surgical plans. The COSECSA meeting also coincided with the annual board meeting of the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anesthesia Care (The G4 Alliance) which brought together representatives from over 60 organizations all committed to advocating for the neglected surgical patient. The week provided a fantastic opportunity for passionate surgeons, researchers, and trainees to collaborate, share ideas, and inspire each other to turn the growing tide of momentum around global surgery into action.

If you would like to learn more about COSECSA, please visit


South Africa Launch

South Africa Launch2

Early in December, members of the Lancet Commission and Global Surgery team were fortunate to attend South Africa’s first National Forum on Surgery and Anaesthesia: an Indispensable Part of Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Johannesburg.  This inaugural conference brought together surgical and anaesthetic specialists, public health professionals, policy makers, and health system experts to discuss and debate key issues surrounding the development of a coordinated national effort to strengthen surgery in South Africa.  The conference also welcomed the South African Launch of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS).  At the event, Dr. John Meara presented on the background and key recommendations of LCoGS, and Dr. Mark Shrime served as a panel discussant commenting on essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a part of universal health coverage.  Among numerous other powerful presentations were a welcome address by Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s Minister of Health, and a review of the World Health Assembly resolution on strengthening emergency and essential surgical care as a part of universal health coverage by Dr. Emmanuel Makasa of Zambia.  A highlight of the conference were the small group discussions, which actively made strides towards actionable plans for the future of the South African surgical workforce training, research agenda, and access expansion efforts.  It was an exciting and inspiring couple of days for the PGSSC team.  We are grateful for the opportunity to connect with community leaders and initiate discussions in support of developing a national surgical plan with assistance from the work of the LCoGS.  We look forward to continued collaborations with our South African colleagues and are optimistic about all they will accomplish in the future.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit our website at

Visit our Lancet website, which contains information about the Commission, as well as recent articles and podcasts. We are also still available on as well as Twitter and Facebook.

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