G4 Alliance Hosts African Regional Launch Event

The G4 Alliance hosted its African Regional Launch on December 2nd in Blantyre, Malawi.  More than 150 guests, representing nearly 60 organizations across 21 countries attended this historic event. Hosted in collaboration with the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and the Surgical Association of Malawi, this launch event brought together government representatives, leaders of surgical societies and non-profit organizations, united in their commitment to advocating for prioritization of surgical care as a part of national health plans.

Special guest speakers included:

Addresses from these distinguished speakers highlighted important themes at the core of the G4 Alliance’s mission and activities. Accountability and leadership, especially by national governments, was emphasized by the distinguished Ministers of Health and by WHO representatives, who expressed their support of the WHO surgery and anaesthesia resolution (68.15) and for the importance of effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation at the national level. Cooperation from governments will be imperative to create a precedent of accountability for future international resolutions.

If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together. And so we believe, at the Ministry of Health, that if ever we are going to go very far with our programs, we need partners. We need partners such as the G4 Alliance.
— Hon. Dr. Peter Kumpalume

Speakers also stressed the significance of access to surgical care and how to effectively measure, analyze, and improve access for patients in both rural and urban communities. Travel time to receive care as well as wait times for treatment are critical challenges that need to be further quantified and addressed.

The countries have to take the lead. It’s not the WHO, it’s not COSECSA, it’s not the G4 that’s going to implement. It’s the government of Malawi. It’s the government of Zambia...
— Dr. Emmanuel Makasa

Given the notable attendance by African surgeons, physicians, nurses, medical students, and those affiliated with the surgical community throughout the continent, there was also a distinct focus on the surgical disparity that plagues many African countries.

Quality, sustainable training programs were called for across the obstetric, trauma, anaesthesia, and surgical sub-specialty fields. While organizations like COSECSA and the West African College of Surgeons, among others, are already providing this type of training, efforts to offer training in more locations are surely needed in order to effectively address the gap.  

The level of attendance and the passionate, powerful messages delivered by speakers throughout the evening demonstrate the true need for a coordinated voice advocating for expanded access to safe, quality, affordable surgical care everywhere. The G4 Alliance recognizes and is driven by this need.

As a collaboration of civil society actors, the G4 Alliance is uniquely positioned to provide a platform to amplify issues brought up by its member organizations and to translate these messages into actionable priorities. We look forward to continued collaboration with our members, as well as policymakers and the public, through high-level advocacy. Together, we can strengthen surgical care and capacity for the neglected patients of the world.

The World Bank has...World Development Indicators on a broad range of things and there’s one section on health. The World Bank will be adding four new health indicators in 2016. And all four of those are surgical.
— Dr. John Meara