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Ending Neglected Surgical Diseases (NSDs): Definitions, Strategies, and Goals for the Next Decade

Henry, J. A.; Volk, A. S.; Kariuki, S. K.; Murungi, K.; Firmalo, T.; Masha, R. L.; Henry, O.; Arimi, P.; Mwai, P.; Waiguru, E.; Mwiti, E.; Okoro, D.; Langat, A.; Mugambi, C.; Anastasi, E.; Slinger, G.; Lavy, C.; Owen, R.; Stieber, E.; Suntay, M. L.; Haddad, D.; Lane, R.; Buenaventura, J.; Parsan, N.; Abdullah, F.; Nebeker, M.; Nebeker, L.; Mock, C.; Hollier, L.; Jani, P.

Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020 Aug 18

Abstract

While there has been overall progress in addressing the lack of access to surgical care worldwide, untreated surgical conditions in developing countries remain an underprioritized issue. Significant backlogs of advanced surgical disease called neglected surgical diseases (NSDs) result from massive disparities in access to quality surgical care. We aim to discuss a framework for a public health rights-based initiative designed to prevent and eliminate the backlog of NSDs in developing countries. We defined NSDs and set forth six criteria that focused on the applicability and practicality of implementing a program designed to eradicate the backlog of six target NSDs from the list of 44 Disease Control Priorities 3rd edition (DCP3) surgical interventions. The human rights-based approach (HRBA) was used to clarify NSDs role within global health. Literature reviews were conducted to ascertain the global disease burden, estimated global backlog, average cost per treatment, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) averted from the treatment, return on investment, and potential gain and economic impact of the NSDs identified. Six index NSDs were identified, including neglected cleft lips and palate, clubfoot, cataracts, hernias and hydroceles, injuries, and obstetric fistula. Global definitions were proposed as a starting point towards the prevention and elimination of the backlog of NSDs. Defining a subset of neglected surgical conditions that illustrates society's role and responsibility in addressing them provides a framework through the HRBA lens for its eventual eradication.

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