Surgery: The 'Neglected Stepchild' of Global Health

In poor countries, about 1.8 million people die annually from appendicitis, strangulated hernias, birth complications and other afflictions that could be treated with surgery.

Surgically-treatable conditions cause more death and disability than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Yet 2 billion people lack access to surgical care, and surgery remains, in the words of Dr. Paul Farmer, “the neglected stepchild of global health.” Now, an international group of doctors is trying to put surgery on the global health agenda.

In this project, Bridget Huber explores the need for surgical care and the challenges to providing it. She also examines new research and on-the-ground approaches that suggest it is possible and cost-effective to do surgery in low-resource settings.