Embrace innovation and redefine South African surgery
Since the 2015 publication of the World Bank’s third edition of their Disease Control Priorities (DCP-3),1 the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery2 and the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution 68.15,3 surgical care has been recognised as part of the foundation of global health.2 Although global surgery discourse has become more widespread since 2015, there is uncertainty as to whether its adoption is beneficial to a surgical system like South Africa’s. Two questions have been posed: “Is surgical innovation mutually exclusive or mutually inclusive?” and “Can we truly invest in surgical innovation throughout the second largest continent before we make sure South Africa has the requisite basic surgical services?” These questions have the same answer: quality surgical care for all requires innovation; global surgery is that innovation. This conclusion is reached by answering several questions: “What is the current state of the South African surgical system?”, “Is innovation necessary?” and “Is global surgery truly innovative?”
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