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Project April 27, 2015

Surgery: The 'Neglected Stepchild' of Global Health

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Media file: uganda_s-0111_0.jpg
Surgeons come from all over the world to the CURE Children's Hospital in Mbale, Uganda, where doctors developed a new treatment for hydrocephalus. Image by Bridget Huber. Uganda, 2014.

In poor countries, about 1.8 million people die annually from appendicitis, strangulated hernias, birth complications and other afflictions that could be treated with surgery.

Surgically-treatable conditions cause more death and disability than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Yet 2 billion people lack access to surgical care, and surgery remains, in the words of Dr. Paul Farmer, "the neglected stepchild of global health." Now, an international group of doctors is trying to put surgery on the global health agenda.

In this project, Bridget Huber explores the need for surgical care and the challenges to providing it. She also examines new research and on-the-ground approaches that suggest it is possible and cost-effective to do surgery in low-resource settings.

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