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Special thanks to the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and to the International Federation of Surgical Colleges (IFSC) for their collaboration, coordination, and support. 

Eradicating Neglected Surgical Diseases: Advancing Universal Health Coverage Through Surgical Systems Strengthening

Every year, 17 million people face preventable death resulting from untreated surgical conditions. Millions more suffer from treatable complications and life-long disability. Access to safe, timely, and affordable surgical care represents an essential strategy for achieving universal health coverage and fulfilling the SDGs. Yet, for nearly 5 billion people around the world, treatment of common surgical conditions is unavailable or too costly.

Neglected surgical diseasesincluding congenital anomalies such as cleft lip and palate, conditions such as fistula and obstructed labor requiring safe obstetric care and interventions such as cesarean section, as well as traumatic injuries, represent conditions that are routinely and cost-effectively treated in high-income countries, yet which contribute to a massive burden of preventable death and disability for most of the global population. 

Surgical care is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions and represents a health priority that is within reach for countries around the world.  For every $1 invested in surgical capacity building, $10 is generated through increased health and productivity at the district level. Surgical interventions can have a transformative impact on the lives of neglected patients and their families. Timely caesarean sections alone can avert as many as 100,000 maternal deaths every year and reduce neonatal mortality by 30-70%. Integrating surgical care into existing health systems represents a cost-effective strategy that can save millions of lives each year, contributing to economic productivity, gender equality, and poverty alleviation.  

Essential surgical care is integral to achieving health for all and represents a vital strategy for supporting the SDG agenda.

This special event, hosted in parallel with the 73rd UN General Assembly, brought together high-level delegates to shed light on this under-prioritized global health issue impacting millions. Special guests discussed health systems strengthening strategies to support eradication of neglected surgical diseases, and to support delivery of safe, effective and timely surgical care, creating pathways towards universal health coverage and greater equality.

Event Program & Speaker Bios


His Excellency Robinson Njeru Githae
Ambassador of Kenya to the United States

Ms. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters 
Miss Universe 2017

Ambassador Dr. Neil Parsan
Chair, the G4 Alliance & Special Advisor, World Bank Group
Former Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the USA and Mexico

Dr. Jaymie Ang Henry
Founding Executive Director and Senior Advisor, The G4 Alliance
Henry Family Advised Fund

Ms. Erin Anastasi
Coordinator, Campaign to End Fistula, UNFPA

Dr. Esther Njoroge
Regional Director for Africa, Smile Train

Dr. Augustino Hellar
Surgeon and Regional Technical Advisor, Jhpiego

Ms. Natalie Draisin
Director, North American Office & United Nations Representative, FIA Foundation 


@TheG4Alliance | @SmileTrain | @Jhpiego | @gflaorg
#SurgeryUHC | #UNGA73

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