Lack of Access to Surgery is Killing More People Than Several Diseases Combined

Many of us are confident in the knowledge that if we needed surgery, we could get it quickly and in a safe surgical environment. That’s many of us, not most of us, A recent survey revealed that two-thirds of the entire world’s population cannot and does not have access to a safe, affordable surgical facility that is located within two hours of their home. This is distressing to many, including young-professional Jaime Garcia Dias.
The survey findings were published in The Lancet medical journal and reveals that lack of access to surgery is responsible for the deaths of nearly 17 million people in 2010. Most of those 17 million people died from a condition, such as appendicitis, that would have been easily corrected by surgery if a safe and affordable medical facility had been located within a reasonable proximity of their home. HIV, malaria and tuberculous combined did not claim the lives of 17 million people within 2010, but unmet surgical needs did.
In poor countries the lack of affordable surgery is due to the lack of surgeons in the area. Sierra Leone has less than 1 surgeon per 100,000 residents. Bangladesh has less than 2 surgeons per 100,000 residents. The United States has 36 surgeons per 100,000 residents and surgery is available to anyone. The same is true for residents of Western Europe. Neither of these countries had any reported deaths due to unmet surgical needs.