The Global Initiative for Children's Surgery: Optimal Resources for Improving Care

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Background The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery reported that 5 billion people lack access to safe, affordable surgical care. The majority of these people live in low-resource settings, where up to 50% of the population is children. The Disease Control Priorities (Debas HTP, Donkor A, Gawande DT, Jamison ME, Kruk, and Mock CN, editors. Essential Surgery. Disease Control Priorities. Third Edition, vol 1. Essential Surgery. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2015) on surgery included guidelines for the improvement of access to surgical care; however, these lack detail for children's surgery.

Aim To produce guidance for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) on the resources required for children's surgery at each level of hospital care.

Methods The Global Initiative for Children's Surgery (GICS) held an inaugural meeting at the Royal College of Surgeons in London in May 2016, with 52 surgical providers from 21 countries, including 27 providers from 18 LMICs. Delegates engaged in working groups over 2 days to prioritize needs and solutions for optimizing children's surgical care; these were categorized into infrastructure, service delivery, training, and research. At a second GICS meeting in Washington in October 2016, 94 surgical care providers, half from LMICs, defined the optimal resources required at primary, secondary, tertiary, and national referral level through a series of working group engagements.

Results Consensus solutions for optimizing children's surgical care included the following:

An “Optimal Resources” document was produced detailing the facilities and resources required at each level of care.

Conclusion The Optimal Resources document has been produced by surgical providers from LMICs who have the greatest insight into the needs and priorities in their population. The document will be refined further through online GICS Working Groups and the World Health Organization for broad application to ensure all children have timely access to safe surgical care.

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