Professor Dion Morton chaired a vibrant plenary session on Global Surgery at the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP) Annual Meeting in Austria. The ESCP has become increasingly supportive of Global Surgery over the past five years, and this was the biggest and most prominent session on the agenda to date.

Two Hub leads from the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery – Professor Stephen Tabiri and Professor Antonio Ramos de la Medina – gave thrilling accounts of the rapid development of research infrastructure, national surgical policy and networks of centres benefiting from the common motivation to improve access, quality and affordability of surgical care in Ghana and Mexico respectively.

Professor Martin Smith, Lancet Commissioner in Global Surgery, based at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, gave a compelling overview of the state of Global Surgery since the 2014 Lancet Commission. He outlined how research, policy, government and mutual partnership between LMIC leaders and international partners must work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and improve surgical care worldwide.

Finally, the audience was excited to hear about the launch of the ChEETAh trial, a study by the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery that will evaluate the effectiveness of sterile glove and instrument change ahead of fascial closure in abdominal surgery. This trial will run across a wide range of LMIC counties, providing crucial insights on a truly global research question. It also is one of the first trials ever to use a cluster randomised design in surgery, with important insights for the conduct of future research and training studies.

ESCP has seen Global Surgery rise in prominence within its programme and international activity, and the NIHR Unit is grateful for their support in what was an engaging and interactive session on this important topic.