Many worldwide lack surgical access
BOSTON, (UPI) -- The poorest one-third of the world's population account for only 4 percent of all the world's surgeries completed in one year, U.S. researchers found.

Researchers at Boston's Harvard School of Public Health said a large amount of global burden of healthcare is due to illnesses and disorders that require surgery, such as complicated childbirth, cancer and injuries from road accidents. However, the researchers found 75 percent of the world's yearly estimated 234 million surgical procedures were undergone by the wealthiest one-third of the global population.

The study, published online in advance of print in journal The Lancet, suggested high-income regions have more than 10 times the number of operating theaters per person than low-income regions.

"It is not news that the poor have worse access to hospital services like surgery," senior author Atul Gawande of the Harvard School of Public Health said in a statement. "But the size of this population is a shock."

Gawande and colleagues obtained profiles of 769 hospitals in 92 countries currently participating in the World Health Organization's Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative.