Global Health: Giving Back

As a medical student, a 4-month elective in the Philippines in 2005 changed my perspectives and goals about my role in health care. The satisfaction of helping patients in the most dire circumstances, and teaming with like-minded staff, had me thirsting for more than climbing the career ladder in Australia. I vowed to somehow continue this when I had completed my specialty training…


In the meantime, profound changes were occurring in the global public health landscape. Emphasis was traditionally placed on tropical medicine and infectious disease, with surgery considered an expensive luxury of the ‘wealthy’.

In recent years, safe surgery is being increasingly acknowledged as an essential component of worldwide healthcare. In 2015, the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery published Global Surgery 2030 – a landmark report outlining the state of surgical care in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), as well as a framework of recommendations, indicators and targets needed to achieve the Commission’s vision of universal access to safe, affordable surgical care.

We have an opportunity to turn surgery from the “neglected stepchild of global public health” to a centerpiece of national health systems, averting millions of deaths and disabilities along the way.
— Dr Paul Farmer, Co-Founder of 'Partners in Health' & Lancet Commissioner

Supported by over 110 nations, this unified the increasing calls for improved strategy in global surgical care.