Lancet Commission on Global Surgery convenes

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery met for the first time January 17–18 at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. The focus of the commission’s work will be on surgery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), encompassing all perioperative specialties as well as nonclinical aspects of surgical care, including management, financing, and infrastructure.

The commission will engage a multidisciplinary panel of experts and decision makers from around the world, who will convene for a series of three structured meetings. During these three meetings, the commissioners will develop the principal publication and strategize on how to elevate surgery to a priority position on the global health agenda. A fourth meeting will focus on implementation of the commission’s recommendations with key stakeholders from LMICs.

The primary tangible output will be a 25,000-word document published in The Lancet, which will contain several key messages to the global community regarding augmentation of surgical care, metrics to gauge progress, and recommendations for key stakeholders. A number of primary research papers to further delineate topics of relevance, as well as a series of teaching cases to demonstrate methods of surgical care delivery will be presented. This initial work of the commission is intended to create a foundation for sustained advocacy through The Lancet and other vehicles over the next decade.

Chairing the commission are John G. Meara, MD, DMD, FACS, plastic surgeon-in-chief, Boston Children’s Hospital, and director of the program in global surgery and social change, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Andy Leather, MB, BS, MS, FRCS, director, King’s Center for Global Health at King’s College, and consultant surgeon at King’s College Hospital National Health Service Trust, London, UK; and Lars Hagander, MD, PhD, MPH, consultant pediatric surgeon, Lund University, Sweden, in collaboration with The Lancet.

The commission welcomes involvement and conversation with any interested parties. A public website has been established, which will initiate a community forum, allowing people to post comments and recommendations and engage in conversation regarding the commission. Further discussions and updates will be generated through a social media campaign using Twitter  and Facebook. The results of these conversations will be presented to the commissioners to help guide their work.

The commission was officially launched in December 2013 with the publication of an introductory comment in The Lancet. Details regarding the commission’s efforts will be published in an upcoming issue of the Bulletin.

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