The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document adopted by the United Nations in 1948, just after World War II, which outlines fundamental rights that the UN believes should be afforded to every human regardless of nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status. Among these 30 basic human rights are the right to life, liberty, and security; abolition of slavery; fair treatment under the law; freedom to marry and have a family; access to education; access to housing, medical services, and social services necessary for well-being.
The G4 Alliance is an advocacy group born out of a growing recognition among world leaders that access to surgical care is essential to fulfilling Article 25 of the UDHR and therefore, access to essential surgical care is a basic human right.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
G4 stands for Global 4: Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anesthesia care, and the G4 Alliance vision statement is as follows:
Every human being is entitled to ready access to high quality, life-saving, safe surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care performed in their communities. The G4 Alliance believes that significant improvements in surgical care and anaesthesia, which save lives and prevent life-long disability and life-threatening complications, can be sustainably and affordably integrated within existing health systems. G4 Alliance Vision
Major world-wide health campaigns of the 20th and early 21st century often focused on disease prevention and eradication, and the benefits to world-health cannot be understated. The eradication of diseases like Polio and Smallpox and the plummeting numbers of deaths due HIV, TB, and Malaria due to vaccination campaigns and availability of medicines are simply amazing. Consequently, as the fight against communicable diseases continues, the realization that more than 2 billion people lack access to basic surgical care is shifting the focus in the health care world.
Somewhere between 11 and 25% of the global burden of disease– more than twice the burden of HIV/Aids, Malaria and TB combined – is addressable by these simple, essential procedures:
(a) injury care for lacerations/cuts, burns and broken bones to save lives and prevent disability
(b) emergency childbirth care including C-sections and repair of birth-related injuries to preserve maternal health and reduce maternal/neonatal mortality
(c) treatment of life-threatening abdominal conditions such as hernias and appendicitis
(d) procedures to correct or prevent disability including repair of birth defects such as cleft palate and clubfoot, removal of tumors and growths, and simple eye and ear surgeries to prevent blindness and deafness – article in SOCAP
The Lancet recently published a study on the cost-effectiveness of global surgery, which explains:
Global health efforts, guided in part by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have focused mainly on the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, obstetric disorders, and communicable diseases.With the exception of a few surgical procedures—eg, caesarean delivery and male circumcision, which have a role in the prevention of maternal and neonatal deaths and the transmission of some communicable diseases—surgical interventions have been largely ignored. However, findings from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study show that the growing burden of both non-communicable diseases and injuries includes many surgically treatable problems. For example, road-traffic injuries accounted for 75·5 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in 2010, up nearly 20 million DALYs from 1990. Cancer has caused 76% more disability globally in the same timeframe. Historically, surgically treatable disease was estimated to account for at least 11% of the total global burden of disease, which might be an underestimate because other studies have reported that about 25% of people in Sierra Leone need surgical assessment, and as many as 85% of paediatric patients in Africa have a surgically treatable disorder by the age of 15 years. Te substantial and growing burden of surgically treatable disease necessitates careful assessment of a wide range of surgical interventions to establish their priority within the expanding global health movement. The Lancet
AIC Kijabe Hospital is very much a leader in the drive to provide surgical care in SubSaharan Africa as we train surgeons, anesthetists, Medical Officer and Clinical Officer interns, ECCCO fellows, peri-operative nurses, and now family medicine residents. Not only do we daily provide the services for which the G4 advocates: surgical, obstetric, anesthesia, and trauma care; we are training generations of doctors, clinical officers, and surgical nurses to carry on this work as they go out from Kijabe to all of Kenya and Africa.
Therefore AIC Kijabe Hospital is excited to be a new member of the G4 Alliance, and we pray that advocacy will lead to greater access and affordability to world-class surgical care for both our patients in Kenya and those in need around the world.
Visit http://www.theg4alliance.org to learn more.