In September 2015, the international community came together to agree on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan of action for people, the planet, and prosperity. Ambitious and far-reaching as they are, they are built on three keystones: the elimination of extreme poverty, fighting climate change, and a commitment to fighting injustice and inequality. Critical to the achievement of the Agenda is the global realization of access to safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia care when needed. The landmark report by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery estimated that between 28 and 32 percent of the global burden of disease is amenable to surgical treatment. However, as many as five billion people lack access to safe, timely, and affordable surgical care, a burden felt most severely in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Surgery, and specifically plastic surgery, should be incorporated into the international development and humanitarian agenda. As a community of care providers dedicated to the restoration of the form and function of the human body, plastics surgeons have a collective opportunity to contribute to global development, making the world more equitable and helping to reduce extreme poverty. As surgical disease comprises a significant burden of disease and surgery can be delivered in a cost-effective manner, surgery must be considered a public health priority.
Keywords: Capacity development; Global burden of disease; Global surgery; Plastic surgery; Sustainable development.