It is a privilege and an honor to write to you as the new ASAP president. We all owe a great deal of gratitude to Kelly McQueen and the inaugural board for helping ASAP become an integrated society of ISS—this is a huge accomplishment considering the first meeting of the group that evolved into ASAP was in 2008.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the ISS meeting in Bangkok and to the Royal College of Surgeons of Thailand who hosted a fantastic meeting. All of the ASAP sessions were well attending and generated great discussions. The next ASAP meeting will be in Mombasa, Kenya in early December 2016 and will be held jointly with the College of Surgeons of East, Central and South Africa (COSECSA). Also mark your calendar for the next ISS meeting to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 27-31, 2017. Planning for both of these meetings is already underway.
Attached are three important documents: 1) ASAP constitution, 2) minutes from the ASAP business meeting and 3) the Bangkok Declaration. The importance of the ASAP constitution cannot be overstated, as it provides a structure by which ASAP can accomplish its work. Please pay special attention to the committees, and begin thinking about which committee you might be able to best contribute to. Please let our new ASAP Secretary, Milliard Derbew (firstname.lastname@example.org), know of your interest in joining a committee.
Many of you have already seen the Bangkok Declaration. The Bangkok declaration does a superb job summarizing the many recent developments in global surgery (i.e., DCP3 and The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery) and provides a clear vision forward. Please circulate widely and have your surgical society or group sign. We anticipate publishing the Bangkok Declaration later this year.
As I look forward, I see several areas where we need to focus our efforts over the next several years. First, we must continue to work collaboratively to develop surgery and anesthesia in LMICs. There are many important opportunities to develop collaborations with the other integrated societies of ISS, the newly formed G4 Alliance and WHO. Collaborations with the latter is or particular importance as WHO works toward implementing WHA68.15. This historic amendment, passed in May 2015, is designed to strengthen emergency and essential surgical care and anesthesia within universal health coverage.
Second, we need to build the ASAP membership. This includes expanding our membership in LMICs and engaging younger members. There is currently a tremendous wave of enthusiasm for global surgery amongst medical students and surgical trainees. We must tap into this enthusiasm and make ASAP and ISS the group that everyone would like to join.
And third, we need to lead on the surgical workforce issues. At present, there is no greater problem and challenge in global surgery than the gaps that currently exist in surgical workforce. As the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery pointed out, by 2030 an estimated 2.3 million surgical, anesthetic and obstetricians providers will needed to meet basic workforce standards. It is unrealistic to think that the surgical care in LMICs will ever be improved unless the workforce deficits are addressed.
In conclusion, this is exciting time of global surgery and ASAP is ideally positioned to help shape the future of surgery care worldwide. I look forward to working with all of you to help make this happen.