The World Health Organization has called for an end to the preventable deaths of newborns and children by 2030. CareWays Collaborative has created a proven and measurable path forward to achieve that visionary goal.

In 2020, more than 5 million children worldwide died before their 5th birthday.

2.6 million died before reaching their first month.

1.7 billion children around the globe remain without access to surgical care and as a result are 14 times
more likely to die before reaching the age of
5 than their first-world peers.

“If UN and WHO goals are to be met, then it is time to double down on the evidence that increasing pediatric surgical care in resource-limited settings is a good investment.”

Shiza Abbasi and Carrie Dolan
William & Mary

And yet only a fraction of international aid is spent on surgical care. In fact, less than 3% of the pediatric population in low-income countries and less than 8% in lower-middle-income countries have access to safe surgical care according to the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery Criteria. The World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory has established a Strategic Development Goal to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under the age of 5 by 2030. And the United Nations, as one of its Millennium Development Goals, has reaffirmed its commitment to drastically reduce the preventable death rate for newborns and children under the age of 5.

Filling this surgical desert and achieving the vital goals set by the UN, World Health Organization, and others will require a dramatic increase in pediatric surgeries, as well as training in surgical techniques, communication, team building, and the culture of care and safety.

“Well-supplied surgical teams from the US and other developed countries regularly swoop into low-income countries for two or three weeks at a time, often earning glowing reports in the media with powerful before and after photos.

Their efforts are commendable.

But they won’t close the “surgery gap.” Once they leave, the country is no better equipped to care for people who need surgery than before the visit.”

Sarah Greenberg, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Robert Riviello, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Until recently, the vast majority of investment in pediatric surgery has historically focused on improving access to quality care as opposed to improving the quality, safety, ubiquity, and delivery of existing care. Foreign medical missions are common, but don’t focus on embedding the skills, safety programs, culture and measurement systems that are necessary to improve care locally.

We aim to change that.