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Strategic Planning to Improve Surgical, Obstetric, Anaesthesia, and Trauma Care in the Asia-Pacific Region



Worldwide, 5 billion people lack access to safe, timely, and affordable surgical care, while approximately one-third of the global disease burden will require surgical management. Those living in low- and middle-income countries face the largest gaps in care, which results in preventable death and disability and slows economic development. Evidence based policies are critical to addressing this problem. In 2015 the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery recommended the development of National Surgical, Obstetric, and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAPs) to address these gaps using a systems-based approach. These strategic plans have been undertaken in several countries in the Asia-Pacific Region, with many others expressing interest or commitment to NSOAPs. Additionally, in 2020, Member States in  the World Health Organization Regional Committee for the Western Pacific endorsed a Regional Action Framework for Safe and Affordable Surgery in the Western Pacific Region (2021-2030) , which provides a roadmap for improving access, quality, and affordability of surgery in the region.


1. Provide recent updates and historical context for surgical capacity strengthening in the Asia-Pacific and globally.

2. Identify challenges and opportunities to improve surgical care in the Asia-Pacific. 

3. Discuss the role of partnerships with the World Health Organization, funding agencies,  professional organizations, academic institutions, and private organizations in support strategic planning and implementation of surgical care. 

4. Explore the possibilities for coordinated efforts and regional collaboration.


This series of virtual meetings convened a broad group of key stakeholders to lead initiatives to strengthen surgical care in the Asia-Pacific region. Three 2-hour long sessions were hosted fortnightly from February to March 2021.  These sessions will commenced with key framing talks, followed by panel presentations, with allowance for ample discussion time. 

This workshop was primarily aimed at high-level global, regional, and country authorities and funders in the Asia-Pacific Region. The target audience included governments, funding agencies, health and development organizations, professional societies, academic institutions, and private companies among others. These key participants were able to interact with the panelists live via video and audio.


The workshop was also made openly accessible to encourage civil society participation and engagement. Public audience were able to view the workshop in a webinar format and raise questions through chat.

 Click Here for Conference Materials

Session 1: Improving Surgical Care in the Asia-Pacific Region: Current Status & Opportunities 

               Thursday, February 18             Wednesday, February 17 

                2:00 - 4:00 am GMT​                     9:00 - 11:00 pm EST 

Framing Talks by:

Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee (Center for Global Health Delivery) 

Dr. Liz McLeod (Fellow, Chair of Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) 

Dr. Takeshi Kasai (WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific)

Dr. Poonam Singh (WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia)

Dr. John G Meara (Director, Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change)

Mr. Nikhil Seth (Executive Director, UNITAR) 

Session 2: Financing for Surgical, Obstetric, Anaesthesia, & Trauma Care

                  Thursday, March 4                  Wednesday, March 3 

                  2:00 - 4:00 am GMT.                 9:00 - 11:00 pm EST

Framing Talks by: 

Dr. Jim Kim (Formerly World Bank; Current Vice Chairman and Partner at Global Infrastructure Partners)

Dr. Blake Alkire (Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change)  

Dr. Rifat Atun (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Professor of Global Health Systems)

Session 3: Strategic Partnerships in Supporting Surgical Care

                    Thursday, March 18                 Wednesday, March 17 

                    2:00 - 4:00 am GMT​                10:00 pm - 12:00 pm EST 

Framing Talks by: 

Dr. Paul Farmer (Founder, Partners in Health)

Dr. Teri Reynolds (WHO Programme Lead, Emergency and Trauma Care)

Dr. Berlin Kafoa (Pacific Community (SPC) Team Leader - Clinical Services Program)

Dr. Annette Holian (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Councillor and Chair of Global Health)

Dr. Muhammad Pate (Director, Global Financing Facility) 

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