Healing power

Sept14-250pxA campaign is under way to make basic surgical care a component of universal healthcare for one-third of the world’s population

As it stands today, an estimated 2 billion people lack access to the most basic surgical services that prevent premature death and severe disability. As a result, easily treatable surgical conditions can lead to devastating lifelong disability, social exclusion, economic hardship and even death. This situation has remained largely unknown and unrecognised by the global health community well into the last 30 years. Even less recognition is given to viable and simple solutions available to address these neglected surgical diseases in low and moderate-income settings. Thus, ‘essential surgery’, the thesis of defining these conditions and setting practical and realistic goals in alleviating the enormous burden of disease in many low-income countries, has become the primary goal of the International Collaboration for Essential Surgery (ICES).


Fighting the odds

Tim HargreaveCollege Fellow Mr Tim Hargreave tells Mark Baillie  about his close involvement with the world’s largest surgical public health drive – to reduce the spread of HIV in Africa by circumcising 20 million men

“This is all about numbers; I’m sort of metamorphosing from a surgeon into a public-health doctor, and the point is that if you’re doing something for public health, it has to be cost-effective. So you don’t want to have to treat thousands of people to prevent one case.” Tim Hargreave launches into our interview with a level of enthusiasm that must be a valuable trait in one of the most ambitious projects for tackling the HIV pandemic.


Team effort

BSSThe College’s Basic Surgical Skills course in East Jerusalem has attracted support from a range of stakeholders, including the UN, and now looks set to be adopted into Palestine’s training programme

When faculty and delegates on the Basic Surgical Skills (BSS) course met at East Jerusalem’s Augusta Victoria Hospital on 29 April, a milestone was reached. There, for the first time, instruction and teaching on the course was conducted mainly by a local Palestinian faculty.


The brave and the bold

CARMédecins Sans Frontières is known for delivering healthcare in some of the world’s most unstable regions. Retired general surgeon Jonathan Pye recently returned from working for the charity in the Central African Republic, where years of conflict have taken their toll on the country’s infrastructure

I have never really been a fan of landing at an airport. In my opinion, it is the worst part of the journey. The feeling of your heart racing as the rubber hits the tarmac and the plane takes a few lurching bumps is dreadful. Certainly, I was not prepared for the landing that I experienced in the Central African Republic (CAR); the plane touching down was the least of my worries. As we disembarked the rather small plane and entered the airport, the sound of gunfire echoed from nearby fighting that had started prior to our arrival.


Rainbow nation

Professor Ian G Finlay reports on his Fellowship to Cape Town, South Africa

It was both a pleasure and an honour to be invited to visit South Africa as the Penman Visiting Fellow for 2014. This was my first visit to South Africa and although I had heard a great deal about Cape Town. I was quite unprepared for the beauty of the landscape in the Cape region.


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