Global Surgery at UNGA73

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Clockwise from top left: HE Robinson Njeru Githae (Ambassador of Kenya to the USA); Dr. Jaymie Ang Henry (Founding ED and Senior Advisor, The G4 Alliance;  Henry Family Advised Fund);  Ms. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (Miss Universe 2017); Ms. Erin Anastasi (Coordinator, Campaign to End Fistula, UNFPA).

‘Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies’  - this theme, the thread woven throughout the 73rd UN General Assembly, speaks to the critical role of partnerships in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This theme, of course, is closely connected to global surgical equity, an essential aspect of achieving the SDGs, Universal Health Coverage, and to peaceful, equitable, and sustainable societies.

Despite the need for safe surgical and anaesthesia care in achieving the SDGs and UHC, there are currently 5 billion people living around the world without access to this essential part of primary care. For these patients, easily preventable and correctable surgical diseases can quickly become physically and financially devastating. To highlight this global inequity as well as the partnerships that are forming to address it, The G4 Alliance and partners hosted “Eradicating Neglected Surgical Diseases: Advancing Universal Health Coverage Through Surgical Systems Strengthening” for an event that brought together government representatives, global surgery stakeholders, and civil society leaders to discuss the eradication of neglected surgical diseases and surgical systems strengthening as an essential part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The session featured remarks from His Excellency Robinson Njeru Githae, Ambassador of Kenya to the United States and a special message from the President of Kenya announcing a national commitment and pilot initiative to eradicate neglected surgical diseases.

Opening remarks were shared by Ambassador Dr. Neil Parsan, Chair of the G4 Alliance and retired Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the United States and Mexico, Ms. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Miss Universe 2017, Dr. Jaymie Henry, Henry Family Advised Fund, Founding Executive Director of the G4 Alliance and UN Representative for the International Federation of Surgical Colleges, and Ms. Erin Anastasi, Coordinator for the Campaign to End Fistula at the United Nations Population Fund. 


Left to right: 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. 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). 

A highlight of this session was a roundtable discussion, featuring regional experts speaking on the topic of neglected surgical diseases and collaborative strategies to address these conditions through surgical systems strengthening. Speakers included Dr. Esther Njoroge, Regional Director for Africa with Smile TrainDr. Augustino Hellar, Surgeon and Regional Technical Advisor at Jhpiego, and Ms. Natalie Draisin, Director of the North American Office and UN Representative for FIA Foundation.

The event wrapped up with a call to action to Member States and civil society partners to work together to eradicate neglected surgical diseases and support the principles of Health for All, first outlined in the Alma Ata declaration 40 years ago!

On behalf of our partners, thank you for joining us to help build priority for life-saving surgical and anaesthesia care as part of the UHC and the SDGs.

The G4 Alliance
Henry Family Advised Fund
Smile Train
Global First Ladies Alliance