The GE Foundation has announced a three-year, $25 million commitment in support of efforts to improve surgical capacity, infrastructure, and training in low- and middle-income countries.
Launched at a global health leadership panel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, the Safe Surgery 2020 Initiative is a five-year strategic plan to reduce maternal and trauma-related mortality and create stronger health systems by improving access to safe surgery and anesthesia. To that end, the program will focus on providing leadership development in low- and middle-income countries to improve the quality of surgical care in target facilities; identifying, testing, and scaling innovations to accelerate progress in safe surgery; and identifying and raising awareness of proven programs that improve the quality and safety of surgical care.
According to the foundation, approximately 16.9 million deaths in 2010 — nearly a third of all deaths — were due to conditions treatable with surgery. Earlier this year, the foundation launched a similar program in Ethiopia.
"Five billion people lack access to the safe surgical care they need. If no action is taken soon, surgical conditions will cost low- and middle-income countries $12.3 trillion dollars by 2030," said GE Foundation president Deborah Elam. "We believe safe surgery is an area ripe for innovations. Despite growing momentum, safe surgery is not receiving the attention and funding needed to save lives. Safe Surgery 2020 aims to change that."