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Emergency and essential surgery, and safe anesthesia are important components of basic health care. Emergency surgery is life-saving and is often needed following road traffic accidents and other trauma, during childbirth, and for acute conditions such as appendicitis. Essential surgery addresses common conditions such as hernia, cancer, infections and cataracts and prevents disability from these conditions when provided in a timely fashion. Safe anesthesia is required for emergency and essential surgery, and is important for pain management following surgery.


Until recently, emergency and essential surgery and safe anesthesia were not emphasized as components of basic health care in many countries. Passage of the 2015 WHO Resolution on Surgery and Anesthesia was celebrated as much needed progress, but considerable work is still needed for effective implementation of this resolution to ensure timely access to safe emergency and essential surgery and anesthesia needed to save lives and prevent disability.  (Please see Advocacy for more information).

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