New Global Surgery Initiative Aims to Improve Access to Quality Surgical Care in Resource-Limited Settings
At the 75th World Health Assembly, we proudly announced a new Global Surgery initiative aimed at supporting broader access to surgical treatments for people living in low- and middle-income countries, beginning in Kenya and Malawi. The new initiative will work from the lab to the last mile of health delivery to develop and deliver approaches, technologies and procedures designed specifically for use in resource-limited settings to treat obstetric fistula and long bone fractures.
By combining the strengths and expertise of Johnson & Johnson with global and local collaborators, the initiative aims to accelerate access by streamlining supply chains, reducing costs and better equipping surgeons and health systems to meet the needs of the patients and communities they serve.
Meeting Unmet Innovation Needs in Global Surgery
Improving access to surgical care is critically important to global health. As many as five billion people do not have access to essential, safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia care, and low-income countries are home to more than a third of the world’s population but host only six percent of surgeries. Surgical procedures to repair injuries like long bone fractures and obstetric fistulas are readily available in high-income countries but are often not accessible to people living in low- and middle-income countries. These preventable and treatable conditions can be individually debilitating and economically costly, often disrupting the ability for many to attend school and obtain meaningful work.
Obstetric fistula is a serious childbirth injury that is both preventable and treatable. It is caused by protracted and obstructed labor in the absence of care, and can lead to infection, infertility and stigma. Between 50,000 and 100,000 women each year are affected by the injury, and in Kenya, more than 1,000 new cases of obstetric fistula are recorded each year. Johnson & Johnson is focused on improving care by developing and providing access to surgical instruments that have been customized to treat women in resource-limited settings. The Company is also working with local collaborators to help train surgeons and frontline health workers on the effective use of these technologies.
Long Bone Fracture
Left untreated, long bone fractures, a crack or break in the tibia or another long bone, can result in long-term disability, but more than 70 percent of people globally do not have access to essential surgical services. Johnson & Johnson is working in Malawi to help train surgeons with novel tools and techniques and strengthen supply chains to ensure sustainable access to care for people in need.
Applying Our Legacy in Surgical Innovation
The newly launched Global Surgery initiative builds on the expertise and legacy of Johnson & Johnson MedTech, which has worked for over a century to revolutionize surgical systems and instruments for a range of medical conditions. From the first mass production of sterile sutures in 1887 to revolutionizing the way doctors perform surgery today with cutting-edge digital technologies, Johnson & Johnson has remained committed to driving innovation to provide the safest and most effective treatment in operating rooms around the world.
For decades, Johnson & Johnson has supported efforts to end obstetric fistula and this new initiative will expand on those efforts by strengthening the capacity of health workers and supporting delivery of surgical repair, helping fulfill the Company’s Health for Humanity 2025 goal of reaching 10,000 women living with obstetric fistula. In the 1980s, the Company began donating sutures for fistula surgeries to low- and-middle income countries and partnered directly with surgeons and hospitals to address the large unmet need for surgical care. Additionally, since 2016, Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson MedTech company, has delivered simulated surgical training through a free mobile app that can reach medical professionals globally to facilitate the safe and efficacious use of Ethicon technologies.
Johnson & Johnson thanks its global and local collaborators including, The Medical & Surgical Skills Institute in Ghana, the AO Alliance, KidsOR, World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists, the Global Surgery Foundation, Tropical Health Education Trust, Medical Aid International, the Fistula Foundation, JHPIEGO, the Freedom from Fistula Foundation, KUPONA, 500 Miles, Monash University, Sinapi, The University of Edinburgh, the University of North Carolina and all the local surgeons, anesthetists, nurses and operating room personnel who continue to deliver on the front lines of care.