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The WHO collaborative center on research and development of surgical care systems policy is an academic collaboration between WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Programme (EESC) with the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change (PGSSC) at Harvard Medical School.

The PGSSC was one of the three major institutions that chaired the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (LCoGS) in 2015. The PGSSC provided a leading role in the development and analysis of research that culminated in the LCoGS report entitled “Global Surgery 2030: evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare, and economic development.” This document was instrumental in emphasizing the critical role of surgery in health care within the context of universal health coverage, as well as the cost effectiveness of offering basic surgical services. The evidence provided by this report, combined with resolution WHA 68.15 (2015), delivers significant influence to Member States of the high importance of improved access and universal coverage of surgical care and anaesthesia.


Since the report, the PGSSC has become one of the main academic institutions involved in the research and development of National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAP) in many countries—ten, to date. The PGSSC and WHO have collaborated on several of these projects, including collecting and analysing research, developing NSOAPs, and advising Ministries of Health.



The main goal of the center will be to engage in research and best practices towards implementation of National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAPs) at country level around the world.



The aim of this collaboration is to utilize the convening and regulatory capacities of WHO to leverage the academic output of the Harvard PGSSC in the field of global surgical systems research. Projects are developed within the collaboration in a running fashion.


A formal collaboration would serve to increase the guidance of WHO EESC for countries who are working to scale up surgical care services and anaesthesia in their country through direct engagement or technical advice using prepared guidelines and templates, and facilitating meetings of major stakeholders within countries for sharing experiences.

Furthermore, joint facilitation of regional meetings will encourage shared country experiences—successes and lessons learned.

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