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February 2017

The Role of Academic Institutions in Global Health: Building Partnerships With Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Department of Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
JAMA Surg. 2017;152(2):123-124. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.3107

Effective care for surgical diseases involves multiple disciplines in areas as varied as trauma, burns, orthopedics, ophthalmology, obstetrics, and infectious disease. A worldwide misdistribution of surgeons exacerbates care delivery, with more than 2 billion people around the world believed to have no access to surgical care.1 Sixty-five percent of disease burden related to just 4 digestive diseases is potentially avertable by carrying out first-level surgical care in the lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs).2 Worldwide, trauma is the leading cause of mortality in the age group 5 to 40 years. Incidentally 21% of the traumatic burden is potentially avertable by basic surgical care accounting for 52.3 million disability-adjusted life-years.3 A vehicular crash is reported every 2 minutes and a death every 5 minutes on Indian roads.4 In India, the mortality rate with severe injuries (Injury Severity Score of >16) is 6 times that of developed countries.4 There are several potential approaches to these problems. Prioritized research with the goal of improving delivery of care to surgical/trauma patients in the developing world is one such option.

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