Over 2 billion people cut off from surgical services

July 5th, 2010 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 5 (IANS) More than two billion people worldwide don’t have adequate access to surgical treatment, says a Harvard study.
“Our findings suggest that high-income regions have more than 10 times the number of operating theatres per person than low-income regions,” said Luke Funk, research fellow in Harvard School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management.

The wealthiest third of the global population undergoes 75 percent of the estimated 234 million surgical procedures done each year, the poorest third just four percent, the study says.

The results showed that all high-income regions had at least 14 operating theatres per 100,000 people. Conversely, those in low-income regions had less than two operating theatres per 100,000 despite having a higher burden of surgical disease.

Much of the global burden of disease comes from illnesses and disorders that require surgery, such as complicated childbirth, cancer and injuries from road accidents, said the study, which appeared online in Lancet.

Researchers, led by Funk and Atul Gawande, Funk’s counterpart at Harvard School of Public Health, obtained profiles of 769 hospitals in 92 countries.

They were participating in the World Health Organisation’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative, which aims to reduce surgical deaths and is led by Gawande.

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