About the Commission


There are currently gross disparities in access to safe, essential surgical care worldwide. The global burden of disease amenable to surgical intervention, such as trauma, cancer and complications from childbirth, is significant and growing.  Despite the proven development benefits and the feasibility of delivery of surgical services in low- and middle-income countries, there is a lack  of global focus on widespread provision of quality surgical services. There is an overall paucity of political support, financial resource allocation and policy mechanisms to create equitable and scalable surgical systems worldwide.


The purpose of this Lancet Commission is to address this need through a health systems strengthening framework and to embed essential surgical care within the global health and development agenda. The Commission will be supported by an international secretariat, and will engage a multi-disciplinary collaboration of experts and decision-makers (Commissioners) from around the world, who will convene for a series of three structured meetings.

Key objectives

There are five key objectives for the Commission

  1. Examine the current state of surgery within the global health agenda.
  2. Characterise the role, nature and spectrum of essential surgery within functional health care systems in LMICs.
  3. Identify critical health systems barriers that prevent universal access to safe, high quality surgical care in LMICs.
  4. Define scalable priority actions that must be taken to overcome these barriers
  5. Define the roles of governments, international bodies, academic institutions, surgical colleges, NGOs, health funders, health care providers and local communities in the attainment of these goals.

The Report

The Commission will culminate in the publication of a 20,000 word report that will provide a tangible reference point for governments, policy-makers, international bodies, funding agencies, academic institutions, professional colleges, healthcare providers and local communities to engage in concrete action. The key findings and priority actions will facilitate the  development, implementation and evaluation of surgical policy to promote the delivery of surgical services worldwide.

Additional Information

Please review our General Introduction document for additional information regarding the goals, preliminary plans and current timeline for the Commission.