Statement read on January 29th during the World Health Organization (WHO) 136th Executive Board Meeting.
IFMSA is currently represented at WHO EB136 by a delegation of 4 members: Pedro Miranda (LO-WHO), Agostinho Sousa (President), Claudel P-Desrosiers (VPE) and Ivan Seah (General Delegate).
Agenda Item 10.1 – Strengthening emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a component of universal health coverage
Honorable Members of the Executive Board,
IFMSA, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, representing over a million medical students worldwide, strongly welcomes the discussion on surgery and anaesthesia at the WHO, and its inclusion as a priority in tackling UHC.
IFMSA appreciates the WHO Secretariat report, stressing that more than 2 billion people around the world still lack access to safe anaesthesia and surgical care, and recognizing that surgical disease contributes to 11% of the global burden of disease.
This is, therefore, a major yet many times neglected global disparity, the solution to which includes improving regional, national and international health systems in an inclusive manner.
The IFMSA urges member states and the secretariat to:
- Clearly define essential surgery and anaesthesia, including their components
- Include surgical care in national health policy, based in evidence based information and good practices
- Ensure surgery is well represented in UHC monitoring framework
- Acknowledge the significant importance of surgical training within policy making of Human Resources for Health
- Involve of all stakeholders in reviewing and formulating surgical guidelines and toolkits
- Recognize the importance of capacity building of youth in low and middle-income countries by strengthening and building institutions for higher education
In conclusion, momentum for global surgery is growing fast, it is time to act, to ensure access to quality surgical services becomes a reality for all. Medical students are ready to get involved and help to achieve access to surgical care.