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Surgery Essential To Primary Health Care, Sustainable Health Systems

The Guardian: Surgery must be a core part of health care — even in the poorest countries
David Barash, executive director of the global health portfolio and chief medical officer for the GE Foundation

“The world has made tremendous progress in dealing with many of the health challenges that have global impact … But there is one area that the global health community has overlooked — surgery. … Surgery must be seen as an essential element of primary care and a necessary component of sustainable health systems. … While some may argue that we should continue the focus exclusively on reducing the burden of communicable diseases worldwide, this is actually a myopic perspective. A more cross-cutting approach to improving health delivery in low- and middle-income countries will include surgery. This is necessary as surgery is essential to drive improvements in a number of critical health outcomes. … [I]t is better to act sooner rather than later to address a patient’s health issues. The same is true of national level health systems” (8/11).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.