Recommendations for including surgery on the public health agenda

Evan G. Wong, Emmanuel A. Ameh, Sherry M. Wren, Wakisa Mulwafu, Mark A. Hardy, Benedict C. Nwomeh, Adam L. Kushner, Raymond R. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Surgical care has made limited inroads on the public health and global health agendas despite increasing data showing the enormous need. The objective of this study was to survey interested members of a global surgery community to identify patterns of thought regarding barriers to political priority. Materials and methods All active members of the nongovernmental organization Surgeons OverSeas were surveyed and asked why surgical care is not receiving recognition and support on the public health and global health agenda. Responses were categorized using the Shiffman framework on determinants of political priority for global initiatives by two independent investigators, and the number of responses for each of the 11 factors was calculated. Results Seventy-five Surgeons OverSeas members replied (75 of 176; 42.6% response rate). A total of 248 individual reasons were collected. The most common responses were related to external frame, defined as public portrayals of the issue (60 of 248; 24.2%), and lack of effective interventions (48 of 248; 19.4%). Least cited reasons related to global governance structure (4 of 248; 2.4%) and policy window (4 of 248; 1.6%). Conclusions This survey of a global surgery community identified a number of barriers to the recognition of surgical care on the global health agenda. Recommendations include improving the public portrayal of the problem; developing effective interventions and seeking strong and charismatic leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-117
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Health priorities
  • Politics
  • Public health
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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