Global Neurosurgery Advocacy
The white paper published by the Lancet Commission put forward surgery as a global health priority. In that paper, their findings showed that 5 billion people in the world do not have access to 'safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia services when needed,' and this inequity is more evident in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
These deficits are even more profound in surgical subspecialties such as neurosurgery. The paper "Global Neurosurgery: The Unmet Needs," published in 2016, addresses the system-level thinking and programs required to address the needs of neurosurgical care in lower resource settings.
Neurosurgeons need to have influence, presence, and leadership role in advocating for the surgical system strengthening worldwide as it is estimated that there are 5 million emergency and essential neurosurgery neurosurgical services currently unmet, especially in LMICs.
Thus, in 2019, the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) established the Global Neurosurgery Committee (GNC), an ad hoc committee dedicated to organizing and furthering global neurosurgical efforts. The Committee is co-chaired by Kee B. Park, MD, MPH from the United States, and Abdessamad El Ouahabi, MD from Morocco. The body of the GNC was the Committee of 22 neurosurgeons from 19 countries; the Secretariat Team primarily managed internal GNC operations with support from the later-added Junior Committee, both of which were international medical students and trainees. One of the objectives of this Committee is to promote advocacy efforts for neurosurgical care within universal healthcare coverage.
This paper explores the fifth "ADVOCATE" objective, including its significance, the GNC's efforts, and progress toward executing its defining targets.