Too many needs, too few surgeons.
There are millions of children worldwide who need neurosurgical care every year, for a number of common reasons:
- Spina bifida
- Brain injuries
- Brain tumors
- And more …
To treat those millions of children, the world has a workforce of fewer than 3,000 pediatric neurosurgeons, 85% of whom are in developed countries like the United States.
In the rest of the world, where the majority of the children live, there are fewer than 400 pediatric neurosurgeons … and they can’t hope to come close to treating the millions who need them.
This means that, every year, millions of children go untreated.
At best, they face life with a severe disability, where most will be dependent on others and experience shame, stigma, neglect, and even abuse.
For many, the more likely outcome is death.
The problem goes deeper
Simply increasing the number of neurosurgeons worldwide is not enough to fix the problem.
From nurses to infrastructure to care protocols, many hospitals in the developing world lack the training, equipment, and expertise to provide the critical care needed by pediatric neurosurgery patients. The result? Thousands of lives are lost every year.
Beyond this, in many low-income countries there is no financial incentive for hospitals or doctors to operate on children who are poor. No matter how simple the treatment might be, these children are not given the opportunity that may save their lives and allow them to flourish.
Life and hope … a sustainable solution