WHO recognizes surgery and anesthesia in universal health coverage

At the 68th World Health Assembly on May 22, member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) unanimously passed a historic resolution recognizing emergency and essential surgery and anesthesia as vital components of universal health care proposals. This resolution is critical in developing safe and cost-effective health care systems in which surgery and anesthesia assume an integral role. Obtain more information about the resolution.

Surgeons treat a range of vital conditions, but recent data published by the World Bank in Disease Control Priorities Essential Surgery (volume one) and The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery point to the acute unmet needs of more than 5 billion people worldwide who lack access to basic surgical care. Access this information online.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) recognizes that implementation of the WHO resolution will require the collaboration of many stakeholders. The ACS is committed to working with WHO, health ministries around the world, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and other surgical and anesthesia societies for the betterment of surgical care worldwide. The College also supports the vision established by The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery: Universal Access to Safe, Affordable Surgical and Anaesthesia Care When Needed. The College will continue to promote research on access to safe, affordable, and timely surgery, reporting on the WHO’s and The Lancet Commission’s recommended surgical indicators.

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