Background: Efforts to promote wider access to surgical services globally would be aided by developing consensus among clinicians, the public health policy community, and other stakeholders as to which surgical conditions warrant the most focused attention and investment. This would add value to other, ongoing efforts, especially in helping to define unmet need and effective coverage.
Methods: In this concept paper, we introduce preliminary ideas on how priorities for surgical care could be better defined, especially as regards the interface between the surgical and public health worlds. Factors that would come into play in this process include the public health burden of the condition and the successfulness and feasibility of the procedures to treat those conditions.
Results and conclusions: The implications of the prioritization process are that those conditions with the highest public health burden and that have procedures that are highly successful and feasible to promote globally, including in the most resource-constrained environments, should be the main focus of national and international efforts.