Equity in Global Surgery - Challenges and Opportunities

Hosted by Global Surgery Policy Unit



Professor Mala Rao

Professor Mala Rao

OBE, Director of the Ethnicity and Health Unit, Health Imperial College London


Dr Rocco Friebel

Dr Rocco Friebel

Assistant Professor of Health Policy, LSE

This lecture by Prof Mala Rao highlights the challenges to the delivery of safe high quality surgical care faced by low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and in the UK, the benefits of bi-directional learning and how these challenges may be translated into opportunities to deliver safe care globally.

The Global Surgery Policy Unit has been established to advance global public health, surgical and anaesthetic care, with a particular focus on low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Unit aims to increase access to safe, affordable, high-quality surgery to improve public health, patient safety and population health outcomes. While the focus is on LMICs, the UK too is facing resource constraints and there are other wider determinants such as the climate crisis and workforce shortages which affect healthcare delivery worldwide.

Meet our speakers and chair

Professor Mala Rao, OBE, is Director of the Ethnicity and Health Unit at the Department of Primary Care and Public Health Imperial College London and Chair of the WHO South East Asia Expert Group on the Environmental Determinants of Health and Climate Change. She was Medical Adviser to NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Strategy between 2018 and 2022. Her career has spanned public health practice, policy and research in the UK and global arena. She has served as an NHS Director of Public Health in the 1990s and as Head of Public Health Workforce for England during 2004 to 2008, following which she was seconded under the aegis of the UK-India health collaboration to be the founder Director of Indian’s first Institute of Public Health. Her most notable achievements have been in workforce development for improving health, strengthening health systems and environmental health. 

Rocco Friebel is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy, Director of the Global Surgery Policy Unit, and Deputy Director of LSE Health. He is specialised in the economics of health system delivery and the evaluation of complex interventions aimed at improving quality of care. His research comprises the fields of health policy evaluation, patient safety, universal health coverage, and surgical priority setting.  

Short description of the Unit 

The Global Surgery Policy Unit is a unique and strategic collaboration between the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Established to advance global public health, surgical and anaesthesia care, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries, the Unit aims to increase access to safe, affordable, high-quality surgery, to improve public health, patient safety and population health outcomes.  

Twitter hashtag 

Speaker's Twitter Handle


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