Annual Report 2022

We envision a future where every child has access to surgical care.

Developing global, regional, national and local priorities to improve the delivery of surgical care for children in LMICs.

Identifying and bringing together resources to address those global, national, and regional priorities​.

Letter from Board Chair
Doruk Ozgediz, MD

GICS supports training programs and shares knowledge and resources to improve access to care and outcomes for children.

Throughout the past year, the Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery (GICS) has continued to build safe and effective surgical care for all of the world’s children, no exceptions. Our member-driven working groups and committees have worked tirelessly this year in service of our shared goal that every child must have access to safe surgical care.

Our mission is to define and promote optimal resources for children’s surgery in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). We do this by engaging with and responding to the needs of providers of all disciplines of children’s surgical care around the world. Our members are on the front lines of surgical care for children, comforting families, leading teams, innovating solutions, and transforming lives of children every day, often in extremely challenging circumstances. GICS offers a lifeline for children from the most remote rural areas to densely populated urban centers and offers high-impact education to providers of all aspects of children’s surgical care around the globe.

With over 1,100 members from 64 countries, GICS continues to grow, and more practitioners see the value GICS provides. Over half of our membership comes from LMICs, and they drive the essential training, education, scholarship, and solutions that will most impact their communities. I am very proud of the accomplishments and growth of GICS this year. We are in a stronger position as an organization, with a deeper understanding of the resources we need to maintain and expand the breadth, depth, equity, and inclusiveness of our work. Although there has always been a need for our work, it has become more critical than ever as over 1.7 billion children lack access to effective surgical care.

We know what needs to be done to change this unacceptable reality. We fight at the community and the bedside, one child and family at a time, in the operating room, and at the hospital and policy level – united by our drive for children. We have outlined a clear roadmap and are working closely with partners on our shared vision and mobilizing the resources we need. GICS supports a wide range of training programs, shared knowledge, and resources, improving access to surgical care and improving outcomes for children. Our organization has become a leading resource and network for children’s surgery and has harmonized the work of many other groups active in this space.

We are grateful for our relationships with other organizations, including Smile Train, KidsOR, and Operation Smile, for their continued support and collaboration.

We have always been an organization driven by the passion and dedication of our members, and we’ve built a community that flourishes through a shared mission. We thrive on mutual inspiration – I hope you will have a chance to meet our members and learn about our work. I sincerely thank each of you for your commitment and faith in the important work we are doing. Children around the world are depending on us – and you – to succeed. We need everyone – and I invite you to stand with us! I am excited about all that we will accomplish in 2023 and beyond, with your ongoing support.



Doruk Ozgediz, MD
GICS Board Chair

Who We Are

Vision & Mission

We envision a future where every child has access to surgical care. Our mission is to define and promote optimal resources for children’s surgery in resource-poor regions of the world. We do this by engaging leading providers of children’s surgical care globally, inclusive of the many disciplines of care, as well as organizations whose missions affect children’s surgical care.

Why It's So Important

The burden of conditions amenable to surgical intervention in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is great. However, billions of people around the world lack access to surgical care. Historically, little attention has  been directed to addressing this problem. This state of affairs has resulted not only in significant burdens on patients, their families, and the countries in which they live, but it also compromises the realization of larger global health and development goals.

Our Approach

GICS is committed to addressing children’s surgical needs by engaging with, and being guided by, the needs and insights of local care providers in resource-challenged areas around the globe. We develop global, regional, national and local priorities to improve the delivery of surgical care for children in LMICs. GICS brings together resources to address those global, national, and regional priorities​.

GICS Values

General Principles

We believe in honest, open, respectful, and unbiased delivery of our shared goals.

We believe in a diverse, inclusive, and equitable structure and membership in a world without borders.

We will treat all people in a way that demonstrates their high value as individuals, regardless of colour, race, ethnicity, gender, background, disability, sexuality, politics, or beliefs.

We will advocate for the basic human right to health for all children and families worldwide and for the essential role of surgical, anaesthetic, and nursing care, using a sustainable approach.

We will catalyze, advocate for, and promote increased commitment and investment in all aspects of children’s surgical, nursing, and anaesthetic care, particularly in areas with limited resources.

Photo by Kelly Fogel courtesy of Ohana One

We will elevate the voices of children and families affected by children’s surgical conditions, especially those who are disproportionately affected in low- and middle-income countries, in conflicts, and in disaster areas.

We will work to alleviate health inequity by reducing disparities and supporting providers of all aspects of children’s surgical, anaesthetic, nursing, and perioperative care, especially those challenged by limited resources in low- and middle-income countries.

Since our inception in 2015 GICS has been focused on creating a world where every child has access to safe, quality, timely and affordable surgical, anaesthetic and nursing care. Some highlights on our journey to accomplish that are below.

A brief history of GICS ...


Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery (GICS) Task Force Founded.

International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN) Invited to become stakeholder and sponsor attendees.


1st global meeting in London, UK with 51 attendees representing 21 countries – 53% LMIC attendees.

2nd global meeting in Washington DC, USA with 90 attendees representing 38 countries – 48% LMIC attendees.


3rd global meeting in Vellore, India with 110 attendees representing 33 countries – 62% LMIC attendees.


4th global meeting in Johannesburg, SA with 225 attendees representing 44 countries – 75% LMIC attendees.


Board begins planning post-COVID gatherings.

Launched Virtual Grand Rounds webinar series.


Our success is measured by resources shared with LMIC practitioners that meet their needs and work towards the goals of safe accessible surgery for all children.

GICS members

countries represented by members

Types of Membership

No Data Found

Members by Country

No Data Found

Committee and Working Groups Accomplishments in 2022

As usual the GICS working groups and committees were busy, leading member-driven improvements in global children’s surgery, Here are just a few examples of what they accomplished.

Initiated pediatric anesthesia fellowship training programs in sub-Saharan African countries, including Uganda and Ghana.

Lobbied for and helped to create a surgical panel in the 2023 International Conference on Birth Defects, worked on a publication for World Birth Defects Day on March 3, and raised awareness about children’s surgical diseases worldwide.

Held a webinar on the nursing challenges of caring for pediatric patients during COVID-19, met regularly to discuss issues and concerns among the nursing community.

Focused on evidence-based guides, education and training programs, and quality improvement projects in 2022.

Worked on raising awareness for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis in children with

Worked on the production of GICS Trauma Prevention leaflets that are now on the GICS website, participated in a joint publication in the World Journal of Surgery, and participated in a presentation on GICS Trauma Care Initiatives at the WOFAPS 7th World Congress in Prague in October 2022.

Continued their research on bladder exstrophy, urethral valves, and hypospadias.

Was awarded funding from KidsOR to support the ‘Providers Course for Children’s Surgery in District General Hospitals’ in Africa, worked on the process for adding organizational membership to GICS, drafted the value statement for GICS.

Broadened our reach and increased membership in GICS, kept members informed of the growing number of activities and educational opportunities, by using social media and newsletters to our members.

Building Virtual Learning Opportunities

Like many organizations, GICS turned to Zoom meetings and webinars as a way to stay connected during the pandemic. While GICS had taken advantage of remote educational opportunities pre-pandemic, it was really during the past few years that members from all around the globe embraced the technology. As a result, GICS has been able to offer significant educational opportunities to a large number of our members via webinars.

In June 2020, over 150 GICS members came together to hear 11 panelists from LMICs discuss how COVID-19 is affecting children’s surgery and what might be done to mitigate this impact. The first webinar was so well received it was continued in a second session in July and another one in September that was led by the Nurses’ Working Group to discuss the challenges facing nurses in LMICs during the pandemic.

After those initial webinars, the GICS Education Committee led the way in organizing and presenting truly impressive content this year. Virtual Grand Rounds were presented on Anorectal Malformations and Wilms Tumor. Webinars were also held on pediatric trauma and club foot care in Low- and Middle-Income countries. Presenters all had a deep knowledge of their chosen subject and came together from around the world to share best practices.

With over 1,500 individuals registering for these webinars, our community let the GICS leadership know these were valuable additions to their ongoing education. Attendees ranged from medical students to advanced consultants, and they were attended by individuals from 50 countries, the majority being LMICs.

Thanks to our collaboration with the British Association of Paedatric Surgeons (BAPS), GICS provided continuing education credits for some of the webinars to further support members’ educational journeys.

We look forward to continuing GICS educational webinars as both collaborations of excellence and an ongoing opportunity for GICS members to come together and learn from each other.

2022 GICS Board


Doruk Ozgediz, MD


“Birth defect surgery is equivalent to social justice and equity.”

Tahmina Banu


"We firmly believe that every child in the world deserves access to safe surgical care, and we are doing our best to spread the word.”

Marilyn Butler, MD


Emmanuel Ameh, MBBS

Past Chair

Zipporah Gathuya, MD


At Large Directors

"Access to quality cancer surgery is the right of every child with cancer no matter where they live."

Hafeez Abdelhafeez

Simone Abib

Abdelbasit Elsayed Ali

Milind Chitnis

Beda R Espineda MD, FPCS, FACS

Faye Evans

Laura Goodman

Sarah Greenberg

Vrishna Madhuri

Lawal-Aiyedun Olubunmi

“We are grateful to receive research papers from our colleagues internationally for review by the GICS Publication Committee.”

Udo Rolle

Lubna Samad

John Sekabira

Justina Seyi-Oljide

Sabina Siddiqui

Richard Stewart

GICS members provide essential surgical care where it is most needed.

1.7 billion of the world’s children lack access to surgical care – for birth anomalies, injuries, and cancers, to name a few areas.

There are hundreds of practitioners and thousands of children that could benefit from the programs GICS has developed, but without your support, we cannot continue to grow the training programs, research, and advocacy critical to sustaining life-saving surgical care.

Your support is needed so our volunteer-run organization can continue supporting front-line providers – surgeons, anesthesia providers, and nurses – who save lives every day for the world’s most vulnerable children and their families. 

Next Year & Beyond

Meetings & Connection

2024 Regional Meeting in Manila, Philippines


Inviting orgnaizations to join GICS to expand our reach and impact
Expand GICS educational offerings with more online training and more collaborative efforts to ensure training is culturally relevant and meeting needs for each country that accesses them.


Create an easily accessible resource center for member education.
Publish WHO online module – on children’s surgical care at the district hospital level

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