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Global Surgery – How Babson Lends an Entrepreneurial Hand

Guest blog post by Babson College Professor, Kate Mckone-Sweet

Global Surgery – a common term, yet not known to many, is the access to and quality of surgical care worldwide.

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery raises awareness of the importance of developing global surgical capabilities, especially in low-to-middle income countries, and highlights the following eye-opening statistics in its first report – Global Surgery 2030:  evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare and economic development:

  • 5 billion out of 7 billion people in the world do not have access to safe, affordable, surgical and anesthesia care
  • More than 1/3 of all global deaths are from conditions requiring surgical care – more than the number of deaths from HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and malaria combined
  • Globally, 33 million people face catastrophic health expenditures through paying for surgical care, and another 48 million experience catastrophic expenditure for the non-medical costs of surgical care, such as transportation, food, etc.
  • The estimated loss in global productivity without urgent investment in surgical care is $27 trillion between the years 2015 and 2030

Clearly there is a need to address this urgent global health issue – one that goes well beyond sending surgeons for short-term surgical mission trips. It is essential that sustainable surgical care systems are developed in low-to-middle income countries, but the challenges are complex. These include a lack of trained surgeons especially in rural areas, an inconsistent supply of electricity, unreliable supply chains for medical supplies, a lack of health facilities in rural areas, limited transportation options and resources for patients, and different levels of financial and infrastructural support from governments.

To address these challenges, it is critical to have leaders who can balance action, experimentation, and analysis to begin to develop sustainable healthcare systems. And these leaders need to develop partnerships with public health organizations, non-government organizations, funding organizations and others.

Babson’s entrepreneurial expertise makes it a unique partner in providing universal access to safe and affordable surgical care – which is exactly why the College has now joined forces with elite leaders in the industry to pursue necessary change and the implementation of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® in global healthcare.

Next Steps

The Steven C. and Carmella R. Kletjian Foundation has brought together leaders in the field of global health and surgery from medical, business, and academic institutions throughout Boston. And as a result, the foundation has established three professorships in global surgery, including the recently announced Kletjian Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Global Surgery at Babson College. Babson now sits beside Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in dedicating resources to developing the next generation of global surgeons and health providers, researching new approaches to surgical care delivery, and taking action to solve the complex problems of global surgery. Babson, however, will take a different approach – through an entrepreneurial lens, serving as a critical partner in scaling-up surgical services in underserved areas worldwide.
Global Healthcare EntrepreneurshipBabson has also developed case studies to emphasize the significant impact Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® can have in tackling global health challenges. These cases are being published by The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, as well as Harvard Business School Press, and will be available for teaching, free-of-cost, at schools and training programs across the globe.