Early Stages of Global Neurosurgery

Historic notes on WHO-WFNS and Bogotá Declaration


  • Walter D Johnson Professor of Surgery, Neurosurgery and Public Health Founding Director, Center for Global Surgery, Loma, Linda University




global neurosurgery, surgical care, Bogotá Declaration, WHO


The year 2015 was pivotal for the growth of global neurosurgery. In January, the United Nations (UN) adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); in early Spring 2015, the publication of  The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery created a paradigm shift in the understanding of surgical needs worldwide, particularly in access to safe, timely and affordable surgical care for billions of individuals; Disease Control Priorities 3rd Edition, Volume 1, Essential Surgery laid out the economic case for surgical care, particularly in low resource settings; and in May, the 68th World Health Assembly unanimously approved WHA resolution 68.15 on strengthening emergency and essential surgical care as a component of universal health coverage. These pivotal events, along with a neurosurgeon as Lead of WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Programme, propelled significantly stronger ties between WHO and WFNS, leading to the development and introduction of the Bogotá Declaration in 2016.