The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: An opportunity to lead innovation in global surgery

Surgery. 2019 Feb;165(2):273-280. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2018.08.002. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Background: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made unparalleled contributions to global health and human development by bringing together generous funding, strategic partnerships, and innovative leadership. For the last twenty years, the Gates Foundation has supported the expansion of programs that directly address the fundamental barriers to the advancement of marginalized communities around the globe, with a transformative focus on innovations to combat communicable diseases and to ensure maternal and child health. Despite the wide spectrum of programs, the Gates Foundation has not, as of yet, explicitly supported the development of surgical care.

Methods: This article explores the pivotal role that the Gates Foundation could play in advancing the emerging global surgery agenda. First, we demonstrate the importance of the Gates Foundation's contributions by reviewing its history, growth, and evolution as a pioneering supporter of global health and human development. Recognizing the Foundation's use of metrics and data in strategic planning and action, we align the priorities of the Foundation with the growing recognition of surgical care as a critical component of efforts to ensure universal health care.

Results: To promote healthy lives and well-being for all, development of quality and affordable capacity for surgery, obstetrics and anesthesia is more important than ever. We present the unique opportunity for the Gates Foundation to bring its transformative vision and programing to the effort to ensure equitable, timely, and quality surgical care around the world.

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries / economics
  • Foundations*
  • Global Health / economics*
  • Health Planning Support
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / economics*