Global Health and Surgical Infection: From Neglect to Emerging Frontier

Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2020 Aug;21(6):516-522. doi: 10.1089/sur.2020.006. Epub 2020 Apr 21.


Background: In past decades, surgical site infections (SSIs) were neglected and not given much global attention in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The risk and incidence of SSIs in LMICs continue to increase. Methods: We reviewed the limited quality data on SSIs and complicated intra-abdominal infections in these settings that have hampered advocacy and infection prevention and control efforts. Results: This review identifies the rising profile of global surgery that has resulted in efforts to scale up access to surgical care as well as increase surgical volumes to address unmet needs. The fallout of these efforts would be increasing SSI rates and a rising volume of laparotomies for intra-abdominal infections. Conclusion: Surgical infections are an emerging frontier in global health and surgery. There is an urgent need for global advocacy and investments in their prevention and control.

Keywords: complicated intra-abdominal infection; investment; surgical scale up; surgical site infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries*
  • Global Health*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraabdominal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*