Document Type: Commentary
Department of Surgery, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA
More than three years have passed since the publication of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery and its recommendations on scaling up surgery in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). An important gap, the voice of the districts as well as lack of contextualized research, has been noted in its support of national surgical plans that run the risk of being at best, aspirational. Moreover, a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ may not adequately address country-specific challenges on the ground. There is a need to redirect attention, effort, and funding in creating a global mechanism to gather baseline country information documenting every single district level government health facility’s ability and readiness to provide safe surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anesthesia care using the World Health Organization (WHO) Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) tool to aid in directing country-specific efforts in surgical systems strengthening and ensuring that a basic package of essential surgical and anesthesia services is made available to each citizen with adequate financial protection by 2030. This global mechanism will enable benchmarking, accountability, and streamlining of the work of the global surgical community to achieve true progress in scaling up surgery not only in SSA, but for the rest of the developing world.