Challenges in the field of surgery

Globally, and particularly in the developing world, there is a crisis in the field of surgery. At least five billion people lack access to safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia care when needed; 143 million additional surgical procedures are needed each year to save lives and prevent disability; and 33 million individuals face catastrophic health expenditures due to payment for surgery and anesthesia each year.

In Africa, surgical solutions that work in one context can fail in another, and innovations must be tailored to specific challenges. Furthermore, while the continent is rich with clinical experience, there is insufficient research capacity to collate, critically reflect upon, and share valuable knowledge with each other, and with the rest of the world.

In South Africa more specifically, there are currently not enough trained surgical staff to meet the needs of the population. Failing government healthcare systems and infrastructure further compromises access to quality treatment and post-operative care.

The Global Surgery division

Based in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Global surgery is an area of study, research, practice, and advocacy that seeks to improve health outcomes and achieve health equity for all who require surgical, obstetric, and anesthesia care.

Our vision is of a world in which all people have access to quality, comprehensive, surgical care. Our mission is to improve the quality of surgical care in Africa through education, research, implementation and advocacy. We have a special emphasis on underserved populations and populations in crisis, and on improving equity and social justice in healthcare systems.

As part of our efforts to become a centre of excellence in Global Surgery, we aim to: develop an academic program that will build surgical leadership in global health; create an internationally recognized, interdisciplinary Global Surgery hub at UCT; and provide global leadership in the provision of high-quality, cost-effective surgical care