Prior to starting the Oxford MBA programme launch at Saïd Business School, I had the opportunity to attend a global health conference at the iconic Blavatnik School of Government, run by the Global Anaesthesia, Surgery & Obstetric Collaboration (GASOC) in Oxford – a trainee-led group of junior doctors committed to promoting access to global surgery – by connecting anaesthetists, obstetricians and surgeons both across the UK and the world. Physicians in practice and training from across the world gathered for the conference, and we listened to influential leaders of global surgery. Doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, and nurse practitioners gathered to learn and share ideas.
The global need for surgery is great. The publication of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery in 2015 outlined the need for life saving and changing surgical services around the world. The commission report suggest that more than 70% of the world’s population do not have access to safe timely surgical treatment near to where people live, and that 150 million more surgical procedures are needed per year for barely adequate service is to be provided.
The sessions were filled with cross-speciality discussion and information sharing between trainees, providing up to date clinical skills and knowledge and sharing training opportunities around the globe. There is a growing need for experts versed in business, engineering, and entrepreneurship to participate in improving access to health care globally. Innovation is needed to address problems faced. We heard from leaders of Médecins Sans Frontières, Lifebox, and the Global Clubfoot Initiative, all unique organizations firmly committed to improving healthcare in the world and providing service where it is badly needed. The stories they shared, the experiences they related were both inspiring and informative.
A surgeon from the Gambia presented his idea to develop a start-up focused on training surgeons with an online curriculum in both his country and other parts of Africa. That conversation turned into a ad-hoc break-out session discussing how to set up a sustainable business training doctors and nurses in his hometown. We finished excited to work together to apply the ideas we had discussed in Africa.
The closing address of the conference given by Professor Chris Lavy, Director of the Global Clubfoot Initiative stuck with me, as he spoke to his journey as a global orthopaedic surgeon. He encouraged us to adhere to four simple rules: 1. Be informed. 2. Make friends. 3. Keep your eyes open. 4. Be dependable. These lessons, I believe, apply not only in medicine, but also in business, and more broadly in life.
Indeed, envisioning a world with open access to essential surgery, and how we could build it combining business and technology was a fitting way to start the Oxford experience, in perfect interdisciplinary fashion. I firmly believe that my Oxford MBA will help me work with organisations like this in the future, and I am excited to continue to work with GASOC and the Global Surgery Group this upcoming year.Back to top of article