Surgical disease is a significant and underrepresented public health problem. Surgical conditions account for nearly 11% of the global burden of disease and are projected to increase, with the disease burden from traffic-related injuries alone surpassing all infectious diseases by 2030.
Though much of the surgical disease burden is preventable or treatable, the global infrastructure to address this crisis is lacking.
In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), inadequate infrastructure and workforce capacity are especially notable. SSA carries a disproportionate 25% of the world’s total disease burden with only 2% of the global health care workforce to address it. Similarly, SSA has the highest concentration of surgical disease burden though the fewest surgery and anesthesia providers per capita.
The majority of surgical global health efforts to date have focused on provision of clinical care through brief surgical missions, donating equipment, trainee exchanges, and brief teaching seminars, or even extracting patients for treatment abroad.
GPAS projects shift away from these traditional methods and focus on projects that strengthen infrastructure and build capacity to address the surgical disease crisis.