Surgical and anaesthesia care


                                  Improving access to surgical care is essential, since surgery can successfully treat a wide variety of conditions, from cancer and injuries to obstructed labour. However, five billion people do not currently have access to safe, timely and affordable surgical care and anaesthesia worldwide. In low- and middle-income countries, 9 out of 10 people cannot access even the most basic surgical services. Through universal access to safe, timely and affordable surgery, we could save many lives, prevent disability and also promote economic growth as a result. WHO’s goal is to strengthen entire health systems to improve the delivery of surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care, without the risk of financial ruin, to all people, everywhere.


                                  Learn more

                                  The WHO Surgical and Anaesthesia Care programme is dedicated to strengthening health systems by improving access to safe, timely and affordable surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care, to optimize health outcomes.  Our vision is universal access to emergency and essential surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care that is safe, timely and affordable.  Our mission is to collaborate with global multidisciplinary and internal partners: to support the development and adoption of evidence-based policies and plans to strengthen surgical services; to develop best practices and standards for surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care; to strengthen education and training programmes to improve surgical services; to build capacity for safe and high quality surgical care at all levels; and to monitor the progress and impact of our strategies aiming to reduce the global surgical burden.  The programme was established to take the lead in efforts to reduce the global burden of surgery-related diseases resulting from injuries, pregnancy-related complications, communicable and noncommunicable diseases, disasters and humanitarian crises, but which still too often lead to premature death and disability.


                                  Surgery and Health for All
                                  In 1980, then Director-General Dr. Halfdan Mahler highlighted the important role of surgery within primary health care, stating: "Surgery clearly has an important role to play in primary health care and in the services supporting it. Yet the vast majority of the world's population has no access whatsoever to skilled surgical care and little is being done to find a solution."


                                  Our work

                                  All →


                                  Action framework for safe and affordable surgery in the Western Pacific Region (?2021-2030)?

                                  The Action Framework for Safe and Affordable Surgery in the Western Pacific Region (‎2021-2030)‎ was adopted by Member States at the seventy-first...

                                  WHO recommendation on duration of bladder catheterization after surgical repair of simple obstetric urinary fistula

                                  Following standardized operating procedures in accordance with the process described in the WHO handbook for guideline development [LINK]. WHO has issued...

                                  Surgical care systems strengthening

                                  Following the unanimous passage of WHA resolution 68.15 (2015), on strengthening emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a component of...


                                  Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care

                                  The WHO Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (GIEESC) is a global forum that convenes multidisciplinary stakeholders representing health professionals, public health experts, health authorities and local and international organizations. Established in December 2005, the GIEESC has grown to include over 2300 members from 140 countries which collaborates to share knowledge, advise policy formation and develop educational resources to reduce the burden of death and disability from conditions that could be treated through surgery.

                                  WHO International Registry for Trauma and Emergency Care