“Surgical care has a role in treating a broad spectrum of diseases in the alleviation of human suffering. It is required of all ages, from neonates with congenital anomalies to elderly people with cataracts,” reads the introduction to a report on a study by the US National Institutes of Health.

Researchers estimated that at least 321.5 million surgical procedures would be needed to address the burden of disease for the world population. Unfortunately, those researchers concluded, lack of access to surgical care is estimated to affect 4.8 billion people worldwide.

Regretting that “previous efforts to integrate surgical services into global health have failed to recognize the scope of surgical need”, and reflecting on the broad spectrum of surgical care, WHO study authors Rose, Weiser, Hider, Wilson, Gruen, and Bickler mention the various aspects of worldwide need, including:

  • Preventative
  • Curative
  • Acute emergency care
  • Treatment of chronic diseases
  • Diagnosis and supportive care

The Disease Control Priorities for Developing Countries Project reported that 11.5% of the global disease burden is amenable to surgical treatment. In fact, “every year an estimated 234,000,000 major operations are performed worldwide, yet only 3.5% of those procedures are performed in the poorest third of the world’s population.”  “A neglected priority?” University of Ediburgh authors ask. “Surgery will need to assume a more prominent role in public health as the balance is tipped toward an increasing prevalence of surgical conditions,” authors Kennedy, Fairfield and Fergusson conclude.

One aspect of worldwide health issues is safety. Complications due to healthcare are well documented and constitute an important public health problem, the British Journal of Anaesthesia notes. Perioperative morbidity and mortality can be improved through checking common safety issues, and the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist has an established place in safe theatre practice.

Pressure injury prevention represents a top initiative, not only in US hospitals (due to the combination of Medicare laws and the need for healthcare cost containment) but worldwide. Lack of knowledge, negative attitudes or underdeveloped skills are the principal barriers to evidence-based practice at the level of the individual health care professional. Nurses’ negative attitudes in some countries could be affected by a shortage of staff, lack of time, lack of knowledge and insufficient equipment.

From our decades of dealing with nurses in many different countries, we at Action Products know that the OR is a unique environment in which specific risk issues arise, with low light, limited space, sharp specialty supplies, and fluid-intensive surfaces. We take pride in our ongoing role in reducing pressure injury risk, helping perioperative teams meet their hospitals’ goals and educating OR staff on the proper use of devices and positioning products. We know that prevention of pressure injury involves, above all, maintaining patient skin integrity.

Surgical care indeed has a role in the alleviation of human suffering, and at Action Products, we’re very proud of the role we continue to play in pressure management.


 global surgeries