Global Surgery at COSECSA Conference in Dar es Salaam

Global Surgery at the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern africa (COSECSA) Conference in Dar es Salaam and Future G4 Alliance Meetings

COSECSA MAP 2013Godfrey Sama, co-coordinator of the IFMSA small working group on Global Surgery, and Edward Wesiga attended the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) Conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from December 3rd to 5th and the side meeting dedicated to Global Surgery. The graduated  students were in charge of the first session of the conference, to pass afterwords to different presentations, among which the one from Prof. Thandinkosi Enos Madiba was impressive. He addressed the increase burden of cancers that need surgical interventions, with the example of colorectal carcinoma. Most of the patients go to the doctor at late stage of the disease, they do not have a good lifestyle, such as diet, and they have poor knowledge. On the doctor side very often there is misdiagnosis due to improper examination of the patient. Additionally  socio-economic factors lead to the increase of the burden of the cancer, an example is the lack of proper medical devices and the possibility to do colonoscopy. The increase death percentages related to cancer in low- and middle-income countries was also addressed, analysing the various factors that contribute to worsen the situation followed by a call for the interventions.

‘‘The improvement of research in Africa is also crucial since it was shown that there are very few data, poor funding of research and lack of publications.’’

A call for collaboration especially within the African countries themselves to share the same challenges and also international collaboration, to share data, to contribute in positive strategies of government lobbying, patient lobbying and education. The COSECSA has various collaborations within Africa and also various projects on educating health professional.

‘‘Worldwide volume of surgery is large. In view of the high death and complication rates of major surgical procedures, surgical safety should now be a substantial global public-health concern. The disproportionate scarcity of surgical access in low-income settings suggests a large unaddressed disease burden worldwide. Public-health efforts and surveillance in surgery should be established.’’

The current inadequate number of surgeons and the poor funds of surgery in most of the countries were the main subject of the session on The Lancet report, that was presented at the meeting. The Lancet has commissioned a group of experts in a variety of disciplines pertaining to Global Surgery to generate a collaborative effort to advance this rapidly growing field. The final report that will be published will be a reference to engage in concrete action in promoting the delivery of surgical services worldwide.

The next meeting on the Global Surgery agenda will be the G4 ALLIANCE EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING will be held in London (UK) at the The Association for Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) on December 10th -11th. After this Initial Meeting of the G4 Alliance Interim Board the Official Launch of the G4 Alliance is planned for January 2015.

The IFMSA is collaborating with the G4 group since last year and it has been invited to be part of the G4Alliance, in order to make sure that youth contribution is not left behind.

What is the G4?

The G4 Alliance envision universal access to quality surgical and anaesthesia care, as every human being is entitled to access to high quality, life-saving, safesurgical, obstetrical,and anaesthesia care performed in their communities.The G4 believes that significant improvements in surgical care and anaesthesia, which save lives and prevent life-long disability or life-threatening complications, can be sustainable and affordably integrated within existing health systems.Their mission of the G4 Alliance is committed to advocating for the neglected surgical patient and aims at providing a collective voice for increasing access to safe, essential and timely surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care as part of universal health coverage.

Over two billion people lack access to basic surgical services worldwide with less than 4% of all operations being delivered to the world’s poorest countries. Marginalized populations continue to suffer due to a lack of trained health care providers, inadequate infrastructure, disproportionate out of pocket healthcare costs, and lack of prioritization of surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care as part of national health plans and more widely, the global agenda. Surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anaesthesia care has a crucial role to play in fulfilling Millennium Development Goals 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, and achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

With the anticipated introduction of a World Health Assembly Resolution on Surgery and Anaesthesia Care and the UN’s Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, there has never been a more opportune time for members of the global community to unite in support of global surgical advocacy.  In response to this opportunity, a network of stakeholders have come together to form an Alliance of organizations united in their commitment to promoting universal access to safe, essential surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care.

References

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Entry written by Ivana Di Salvo, IFMSA Liaison Officer for Research and Medical Education, and Godfrey Sama, co-coordinator of IFMSA working group on global surgery.

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