NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In parallel with the 73rd UN General Assembly, The Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anaesthesia Care (the G4 Alliance) will host an event in partnership with Smile Train, the world's largest cleft charity, the Ministry of Health of Kenya, the Henry Family Advised Fund, Jhpiego, and the Global First Ladies Alliance today, Thursday September 20.
The luncheon event will include welcome remarks from Ambassador Dr. Neil Parsan, Dr. Jaymie Henry, and Smile Train Ambassador Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, statements from country delegations, multilateral organizations and UN Agencies, a roundtable discussion with Dr. Esther Njoroge (Smile Train), Dr. Augustino Hellar (Jhpiego), and Ms. Natalie Draisin (FIA Foundation) and an announcement around a new commitment by the Government of Kenya.
This event will highlight an urgent and oft-neglected crisis; the backlog of patients living around the world with neglected surgical diseases, which are profoundly debilitating and cause suffering for millions of people due to a lack of access to basic, essential, and emergency surgical care. As a result, common birth-defects become life-long disabilities, minor injuries become life threatening, and otherwise easily treated conditions lead to death. Many individuals are pushed into cycles of poverty, unable to participate in the economy, and live in shame, isolation, and social exclusion.
Currently, an estimated 5 billion people live without access to safe, and affordable surgical and anaesthesia care. Safe surgical care is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage. Every year, 17 million people die preventable deaths due to neglected surgical diseases. It's estimated that low- and middle-income countries will lose $12.3 trillion in potential GDP by 2030 without urgent investment in strengthening surgical systems.
"Billions of people are impacted by a lack of access to surgical care, contributing to death, disability, and financial hardship. I believe there is no greater cause than to support neglected surgical patients around the world," says Ambassador Dr. Neil Parsan, Chair of the G4 Alliance. "Surgery and strong healthcare systems are essential to ensuring health for all, alleviating poverty and fostering economic growth."
In addition to raising awareness around neglected surgical diseases, the event will highlight country progress in strengthening national surgical systems and garner commitments from country delegates for future action. During the event, the Government of Kenya will announce the launch of a new commitment, led by the Henry Family Advised Fund in partnership with the County Government of Meru, the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA), Smile Train, and Mount Kenya University-Afya Switchnet to eradicate neglected surgical diseases, beginning with a regional pilot focusing on cleft lip and palate in Meru County.
"The goal of the project, which we hope will not only expand the capacity of primary care channels in the country, but also to strengthen the overall health system, is to firmly place these Neglected Surgical Diseases, or NSDs, as part of universal health coverage. After all, how can we have true universal coverage is we leave these patients behind?" says Dr. Jaymie Henry, who is leading the initiative on behalf of the Henry Family Advised Fund and who is also Founding Executive Director of the G4 Alliance, a network of over 85 global organizations working in 165 countries to improve access to safe, timely and affordable surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care for patients in need.
"Safe, accessible, timely surgery is essential for children with clefts to have the opportunity to live a healthy, productive, and full life. We are excited to be a part of this initiative to eradicate neglected surgical diseases in Kenya, and to be paving the way by providing safe, high quality care for children with clefts through empowering local medical professionals to treat children in their own communities," says Susannah Schaefer, CEO, Smile Train. In addition to providing free surgical treatment, Smile Train works with its network of partners to develop cleft programs that encompass comprehensive nutrition, dental care, orthodontics, and speech therapy services, to ensure that children can live full, productive lives.
About the G4 Alliance
The G4 Alliance is a network of over 85 member organizations working in more than 160 countries dedicated to supporting surgical service delivery, on-the-ground training, capacity building, and thought leadership. Our collective impact translates to approximately $1 billion US invested each year in strengthening surgical care quality, accessibility, and safety around the world. Together, we are dedicated to advocating for neglected surgical patients and support integration of essential surgical care as part of universal health coverage.
About Smile Train
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children's lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.org
SOURCE Smile Train