Conference to Address Critical Lack of Surgical Care Around World

More than two billion people around the world do not have access to emergency and essential surgical care. The results are devastating, leading to more than 500,000 maternal deaths and more than 5 million fatalities associated with everyday injuries such as road traffic accidents and burns. This lack of surgical care is arguably a top killer around the world but mostly ignored by organizations that can affect positive change.

To address strategies for improving surgical care in low-income countries, the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital will host a joint Alliance for Surgery and Anesthesia (ASAP) and World Health Organization Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care meeting November 9-11 in San Diego. The conference “Building Sustainable Surgical Systems” will bring together global leaders in surgery and anesthesia, health economists, and public policy experts to discuss how surgical care might be improved in settings of limited resources.

“Surgical care has been one of the most neglected aspects of global health. With no reliable system for surgical care in many areas of the world, from rural areas of the U.S. to remote villages in Africa, children and adults unnecessarily face loss of life,” said Dr. Stephen Bickler, pediatric surgeon at Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego School of Medicine who has operated on children in more than 15 countries. “This system-less environment is a rapidly growing global public health problem that can be managed in a cost-effective manner with existing knowledge, technology and human resources.”

More than 75 experts from the world’s top hospitals and health organizations will offer timely information on the global anesthesia crisis, how to prioritize surgical conditions in the public health arena, the role of academic, private, and non-governmental partnerships, quality improvement in resource-poor settings, advancement of telemedicine, and how to quantify epidemiological surgical issues.

“Attendees to this conference will learn from and network with those who know how to close the gap to lifesaving surgical services, so that patients from all geographic areas can have access to safe and economically viable surgical care,” said David C. Chang, director of Outcomes Research in the Department of Surgery at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Lessons learned globally may be relevant to our changing health care system in the U.S., and may show us how we can operate our systems in a more cost-efficient manner.”

The 4th annual ASAP meeting, "Building Sustainable Surgical Systems," will take place from November 9-11, 2011 at the Sheraton Harbor Island in San Diego, CA. For more information, please contact 619-543-7610, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit http://cme.ucsd.edu/asap

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