Earlier this week, the United Nations adopted 17 proposed sustainable development goals, which reflect the resolve of world leaders to “end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”
Although admirable, these goals cannot be achieved without explicitly addressing one of the most crucial needs facing the world: a lack of access to surgery. The aim of universal access to “health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured,” will come to nothing without it.
Most of the world lacks access to safe, affordable and timely surgical care.
Every year over 80 million people worldwide face financial catastrophe if they get surgery. And while the individual cost of getting surgery is great, the societal cost of inaction is staggering. If nothing is done to increase surgical access, developing nations are projected to lose $12.3 trillion from their gross domestic products between now and 2030.