Improving the availability of safe and affordable surgery

2 August, 2018

Dear HIFA and HIFA-Zambia colleagues,

I would like to recommend a new article by HIFA-Zambia member Emmanuel Makasa. Below is the introduction and extracts. Full text here:


The lack of surgical care in many countries is unfair to a large part of the world’s populations and holding back many economies. Emmanuel M. Makasa, a Zambian surgeon and diplomat, is fighting to make surgery accessible to all people.

One third of today’s global diseases require surgical intervention, but this type of service is not always accessible or safe. Past global and national public health policies in the developing world have usually been disease specific, focusing on treating the single problem (such as the tuberculosis, HIV or malaria programmes) and not on strengthening the healthcare system and providing access to surgical care.

Surgery is a pillar of the health system. Every human being may need basic to life-saving surgical care in his or her lifetime and only a strong healthcare system with improved surgical care capacity can support true universal health coverage and lead to sustainable national development.

Surgery involves more than a single discipline and more than the sheer cutting and stitching up of human flesh and bone. It is an essential part of basic care, but it remains inaccessible and unaffordable for many people around the world.

... many people worldwide (about five billion, or 70 percent of the global population) lack access to safe and affordable surgery...

Many developing countries have invested in other maternal and child health interventions, but not in improving local surgical care. Because of this, they have struggled to bring maternal and infant mortality rates down.


Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (, which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: