G4 Alliance for safe surgical and trauma care launched

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5 billion people lack access to safe surgical care
5 billion people lack access to safe surgical care
Members of the G4 Alliance Board at the launch in Geneva (photo courtesy G4 Alliance)
Members of the G4 Alliance Board at the launch in Geneva (photo courtesy G4 Alliance)
US Acting Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr Karen DeSalvo (left), supported the launch (photo courtesy G4 Alliance)
US Acting Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr Karen DeSalvo (left), supported the launch (photo courtesy G4 Alliance)
FIA Foundation’s Saul Billingsley at the launch event (Photo courtesy G4 Alliance)
FIA Foundation’s Saul Billingsley at the launch event (Photo courtesy G4 Alliance)
Watch our film on the need for improved trauma and surgical care for road traffic victims.

A new Global Alliance to promote safe surgical care has been launched during the 2015 World Health Assembly, where health ministers have approved a resolution calling for surgical and anaesthesia care to become a priority.

The Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care (the ‘G4 Alliance’) was formally launched at an event in Geneva attended by government ministers, health advocates and medical specialists. The FIA Foundation is one of more than 40 founding members, together representing more than 1,300 organisations around the world. The aim of the G4 Alliance is to advocate for the neglected surgical patient, to highlight the vital role of surgical care in averting premature death and significant morbidity from maternal health issues or complications of injury, and to integrate surgical care with existing public health frameworks in a collaborative and mutually beneficial way.

Five billion people around the world are unable to access safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia care when needed, according to the recent report of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. Out of the 313 procedures performed each year, only 6% are done for the poorest third of the world’s population. For road traffic injury victims, lack of emergency trauma care, safe surgical facilities or rehabilitation services can seriously exacerbate the impact and severity of injuries, while failure to provide care during the ‘Golden Hour’ after a crash often proves fatal. The Lancet Commission’s report argues that “surgery has proven to be a very cost-effective intervention, and failure to treat surgical conditions threatens to significantly compromise the economic productivity of countries. Widespread integration and scale-up of surgical care around the world is necessary to reach new targets for Universal Health Coverage, the Sustainable Development Goals and creation of resilient health systems.”

Responding to the efforts of the G4 Alliance over recent months, as well as to other advocates for surgical care, health ministers at the World Health Assembly (the governing body for the WHO) approved Resolution 68/31 on 22 May 2015 which includes a call to “identify and prioritize a core set of emergency and essential surgery and anaesthesia services at the primary health care and first referral hospital level, and to develop methods and financing systems for making quality, safe, effective and affordable emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia services accessible to all who need it”.

Speakers at the launch of the G4 Alliance on 19th May included the Minister of Health of Zambia, Dr Joseph Kasonde; the Assistant Secretary of Health for the US Government, Dr Karen DeSalvo; Sir George Alleyne of John Hopkins School of Public Health and road safety advocate Zeina Kassem, President of Lebanese NGO Roads for Life, who made a moving speech about the impact of road traffic injuries on the young.

Attending the G4 Alliance launch the FIA Foundation’s Director, Saul Billingsley, said: “Millions of road traffic victims are injured each year, and many suffer needlessly through lack of immediate and effective trauma care or the right surgical interventions. This can increase the severity of injuries and dramatically extend the time need for convalescence, resulting in increased medical costs, loss of employment and household poverty. The advocacy of the G4 Alliance is therefore vitally important in raising the profile of trauma, surgical and anaesthesia care and encouraging action. The FIA Foundation is proud to be part of this new coalition.”

Read WHA Resolution 68/31: Strengthening emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a component of universal health coverage

Learn more about the G4 Alliance