Five billion people lack access to safe, affordable, and timely surgical and anesthesia care. This is roughly two-thirds of the world's population. But the need is even more acute in low- and middle- income countries, where 94% of people lack access to surgical care. Surgical conditions kill 17 million people per year, which is more than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Yet, surgical care is still not a priority for most governments. For example, of 43 national health strategic plans in Africa reviewed, 19% had no mention of surgery or surgical conditions, and 63% had five or fewer mentions, compared to hundreds of mentions of HIV and malaria. Consequently, surgical systems in low- and middle-income countries have remained underfunded and underdeveloped, incapable of meeting the surgical needs of vulnerable populations.
The most powerful agents for change are communities that are most impacted by weak surgical systems including frontline health care leaders and patient communities. Recognizing this, the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), The Nkafu Policy Institute and Operation Smile have come together to create the Global Surgery Advocacy Fellowship (GSAF). The GSAF will identify and train these leaders based in low- and middle-income countries in policy and advocacy skills to be passionate, compassionate and skilled advocates for surgical and anesthesia care within their communities and globally.
By identifying and empowering these global surgery advocates in low- and middle-income countries, we will increase visibility for global surgery and create a platform for policy change locally and globally.
This program aims to:
Identify emerging global surgery leaders and advocates in low- and middle-income countries.
Empower them to advocate for the prioritization of surgical and anesthesia care to decision makers locally and globally.
Train these leaders in grassroots and global advocacy.
Create a network of skilled, well-informed and confident global surgery advocates locally, regionally and globally.
The program's core components include skills development, capstone advocacy projects and mentorship. Mentorship is at the core of the program, as each fellow will be matched with a mentor that will provide year-round guidance and mentorship to help the fellows develop their unique advocacy voice and become effective change agents for increased access to safe, timely and affordable surgical and anesthesia care.
Global Surgery Advocacy Fellows
Abdo Husen Abdulkadir
Abdo Husen Abdulkadir is a public health specialist with a special focus on healthcare project management. He has received a postgraduate degree in public health from Hawassa University in Ethiopia. He has been trained in project management, health system management, monitoring and evaluations. Mr. Husen Abdulkadir is also a current student fellow at Africa Civil Engagement Academy, a program being run by the University of Georgia. Mr. Husen Abdulkadir has more than 15 years of experience in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors having held program coordination and project management roles at various international NGOs, including Amref Health Africa, The Fred Hollows Foundation and The Pharo Foundation.
Dr. Maison is a urologist and senior lecturer with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. He is a fellow of the Ghana College of Surgeons and also of the West African College of Surgeons where he graduated in 2014. Patrick has a passion to improve surgical practice in Ghana by promoting the training and practice of minimally invasive surgery across the country. He won the prize for the best candidate in urology in West Africa in 2014 and has received academic scholarships from the International Society of Urology (SIU), International Volunteers of Urology (IVUmed) and the Ghana Education Trust Fund. He has also won some competitive international research grants and has over 20 research publications to his credit.
Bigirimana Simon Pierre
Dr. Simon Pierre is a medical doctor with extensive clinical experience in remote areas. He has been trained in Advanced Life Support of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Essential surgical skills. Dr. Simon Pierre is passionate about global surgery, research and orthopedics. Currently in the Clinical Medicine Division at the University of Global Health Equity as a junior faculty and coordinator, he coordinates and participates in the teaching of students during their clerkship in different hospital and participates in curricula development. With the CEGS team he participates in different research aiming to contribute to equitable health delivery.
Casimir Fleur Prudence Rahantasoa Finaritra
Dr. Rahantasoa Finaritra is a surgeon in Madagascar. She works in the Department of Visceral and Digestive Surgery and is also a teaching assistant in the Faculty of Medicine of Antananarivo. In 2022, she won a scholarship for young students from the French National Society of Gastro-Enterology. The scholarship included an internship in Paris for a week and participation in an international congress. She did a one-year internship in France in 2018 and a three-month internship in South Korea in 2022. She has also had the opportunity over the past few years to assist some workshop offered by Mercyships. Her research focus is primarily on digestive surgery.
Carolina Franco Roldan
Dr. Franco Roldan was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, in a time marked by violence and drug trafficking. She graduated from medical school at the CES University in Medellin. She trained in anesthesia with an emphasis in oncology in Bogota, Colombia, at the National Institute of Cancerology. After her residency, Dr. Franco Roldan began volunteering for Operation Smile, and served as a volunteer in surgical programs for 11 years. Dr. Franco Roldan went on to receive additional training in obstetric and fetal anesthesia a the Clinic Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. She has served as an anesthesiologist and subspecialist in many hospitals in various regions of Colombia.