Recap: Global Surgery at the 70th World Health Assembly

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The 70th World Health Assembly - the WHO's health-policy decision making body - took place from May 22-31, 2017.  Each year, the WHO's 194 member states convene in Geneva to discuss major global health issues and to agree upon the WHO's program of work. This year's WHA also featured the appointment of the next Director General.

The G4 Alliance and global surgery stakeholders were pleased to see momentum building around the issue of surgical and anaesthesia care for the billions of neglected surgical patients!


Global Surgery Highlights at the 70th WHA:


20-21 May

The G4 Alliance hosted our Member Permanent Council (PC) Meeting in parallel with the WHA on May 20-21, 2017.  The PC represents the heart of the G4 Alliance and provides the knowledge, diversity and expertise that make our network unique. Our Permanent Council represents the only collective body in the world that is passionately advocating for all neglected surgical patients.

G4 Permanent Council Meeting Photos Here 


22 May


The G4 Alliance and our 80+ members, in partnership with GE Foundation and SS2020 hosted a Global Surgery Advocacy Side Event in parallel with the 70th World Health Assembly.

Entitled "From Commitment to Action: Partnerships to Strengthen Surgical and Anaesthesia Care for All", this event convened members of civil society and country representatives to highlight partnerships between NGOs, private sector and government that are supporting progress towards WHA resolution 68.15 on emergency and essential surgical and anaesthesia care.

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Special guest speakers included Hon. Prof. Yifru Berhan Mitke, Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Secretary Thomas Price of the United States Health and Human Services, Dr. Mpoki Ulisubisya, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health of Tanzania, and Dr. Nthuli Mzaza, Director of Clinical Care and Diagnostic Services with the Ministry of Health of Zambia.

Over 150 people joined and 25+ country representatives were in attendance.

Read more here

23 May


Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia was elected to the position of Director General of the World Health Organization. Dr. Tedros has expressed his support for surgical and anaesthesia care. We look forward to working with the new Director General to prioritize surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anaesthesia care and to ensure that WHA resolution 68.15 is implemented.

24 May

Lifebox and the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) hosted a side event featuring the G4 Alliance, InciSioNOperation Smile and the Zambian Ministry of Health. This event brought together members of civil society to ask the question: What's next for surgery and anaesthesia? This event also provided a preview of the WFSA's World Anaesthesiology Workforce Map and for #GlobalSurgeryDay (May 25), which is led by the International Federation of Medical Student's Associations (IFMSA)'s Global Surgery Working Group (InciSioN).


25 May

The WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (EESC) programme hosted a Global Public Health Surgery - Technical & Programmatic Working Meeting assembling country representatives and civil society to share updates and discuss strategies for scaling up universal surgical and anaesthesia care coverage. At this meeting, Zambia announced the launch of its National Surgical, Obstetric & Anaesthesia Strategic plan, developed in partnership with Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change (PGSSC). Thursday also marked #GlobalSurgeryDay!

26 May

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The official WHO side event entitled "Global Public Health Surgery: WHA High Level Health Policy Surgical Side Event" addressed progress towards WHA Resolution 68.15. This meeting was well-attended by Member States, civil society and WHO representatives, with several G4 Alliance members represented and delivering statements. Following discussions at this meeting, Member States requested the G4 Alliance's  assistance to seek country support for the development of a Global Action Plan for surgical and anaesthesia care.

27 May

An amendment calling for the Director General to report back every 3-years until 2030 on progress towards Resolution 68.15 has been approved. We thank Zambia, Morocco, and Thailand for their leadership.  Kenya also delivered a statement on behalf of the African region, supported by Zambia and Namibia, calling for a Global Action Plan to support implementation of Resolution 68.15 to strengthen surgical and anaesthesia care. While time restrictions meant that a second amendment was not introduced, this statement represents an important step towards introducing a new WHA Agenda Item specifically addressing the need for a Global Action Plan at the next assembly.  We will keep our G4 network updated with more details. 

30 May

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On the final day of the WHA, Member States, WHO representatives and members of civil society assembled for the report back on WHA Resolution 68.15. Thanks to all countries and NGO representatives who delivered a statement. Read the full report here and the appendix with additional details here.

Thank you to all members and organizations that attended events, advocated, and joined us on social media using #ICommit2Surgery, #SafeSurgery, #WHA70 and #GlobalSurgeryDay. This was an unprecedented year for surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anaesthesia care at the World Health Assembly and we look forward to moving the needle forward in years to come.