Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

The crisis of global surgery

Five billion people do not have access to safe, affordable and timely surgical care. 93% of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The lack of access to surgery causes needless suffering, disability and death. What are seen in the developed world as very routine illnesses and accidents needing minor low-tech surgery often turn into life-threatening, life-altering or fatal events.

There are many contributing factors to this crisis. However, a prime cause is the lack of trained surgeons and surgical providers. Ireland has approximately 50 surgical specialists (surgeons, anaesthetists and obstetricians) for every 100,000 people. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the ratio is 1.8 surgical specialists for every 100,000 people (World Bank indicators).