August 19, 2016: Remarkable gains have been made in global health in the past 25 years, but progress has not been uniform. Mortality and morbidity from common conditions needing surgery have grown in the world's poorest regions, both in real terms and relative to other health gains. At the same time, development of safe, essential, life-saving surgical and anaesthesia care in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) has stagnated or regressed. In the absence of surgical care, case-fatality rates are high for common, easily treatable conditions including appendicitis, hernia, fractures, obstructed labour, congenital anomalies, and breast and cervical cancer.

John G. Meara, MD, DMD, MBA is the Kletjian Professor of Global Surgery in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, Plastic Surgeon-in-Chief at Boston Children's Hospital, and Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (www.lancetglobalsurgery.org). He is also the Vice-Chair of the Health Policy Advisory Group for the American College of Surgeons. Since 2008, he has Co-Directed the Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellowship program in collaboration with Partners In Health.

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