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November 17, 2018

5b people worldwide lack access to lifesaving surgical care


November 17, 2018

Islamabad : Five billion people around the globe lack access to safe and lifesaving surgical care. Majority of these individuals live in lower middle income countries including Pakistan. Moreover, 16.9 million people die from surgically preventable diseases each year; approximately 28-32% of the global disease burden is attributed to surgically treatable conditions. This includes childbirth complications, cancer related surgeries, and surgeries that can improve vision.

These data were shared with participants of the ‘Stakeholder Engagement Conference for National Vision for Surgical Care (NVSC) 2025,’ here on Thursday. The conference was organized by Indus Health Network (IHN) in collaboration with the Ministry of National Health Services, with technical support from the World Health Organization and Harvard Medical School – Programme in Global Surgery and Social Change.

The conference was attended by the federal ministries, provincial government departments, local and international surgeons, anaesthetists and obstetricians. A steering committee of 25 local and international experts guided the process. The steering committee was chaired by Dr. Safi Malik, Director Programs-MONHSRC and Dr. Sania Nishtar, President Heartfile.

Additional Secretary for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Iqbal Durrani inaugurated the event, advocating the need for strengthening surgical systems in Pakistan and creating a roadmap which includes development of infrastructure, technical expertise and service delivery.

Dr. Assad Hafeez, Director General Health recollected member states including Pakistan signing a resolution at the 68th World Health Assembly in 2015, promising to strengthen surgical systems as an integral component of universal health coverage. “Through this initiative, Pakistan will be the first Asian country to adapt a locally relevant version of this framework,” he said. John G. Meara, Professor of Global Surgery at Harvard Medical School said, “Providing safe, affordable, timely surgery will save millions of lives and trillions of dollars in lost productivity.

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