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Geoff Ibbotson, Executive Director of the Global Surgery Foundation, on Strengthening Surgical Care Systems and Empowering Global Health

In this episode of the Do One Better podcast, Alberto Lidji engages in a compelling conversation with Geoff Ibbotson, the Executive Director of the Global Surgery Foundation.

Geoff shares his journey and the critical work his organization is doing to improve surgical care systems worldwide, particularly in low-resource settings.

This episode sheds light on the importance of comprehensive surgical systems in achieving global health goals and reducing poverty. As Geoff notes: "A strong surgical care system strengthens the entire health system and is one of the best investments for global health."

Key Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to the Global Surgery Foundation: Geoff explains the origins and mission of the Global Surgery Foundation, highlighting its role in supporting and advancing surgical care systems globally.

  • Comprehensive Surgical Systems: A deep dive into the various components of a functional surgical care system, including diagnostics, anesthesia, nursing, and rehabilitation.

  • Impact on Global Health: How strengthening surgical care systems can significantly improve health outcomes and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • The Surg Fund and Surg Hub: An overview of the Surg Fund, aimed at pooling resources for impactful surgical projects, and the Surg Hub, a digital platform for disseminating surgical knowledge and training.

  • Challenges and Success Stories: Geoff shares real-life examples of the challenges faced in low-resource settings and the successes achieved through improved surgical care.

Notable Partners and Supporters:

• UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research)

• Rali Mampeule

• Smile Train

• Harvard University Medical School

• Johnson & Johnson Foundation

• Takeda Pharmaceuticals

• Siemens Healthineers

• Canton of Geneva

Call to Action:

Listeners are encouraged to explore the Surg Hub for free, high-quality training and resources on surgical care. Additionally, the Global Surgery Foundation welcomes partnerships and support to further its mission of strengthening surgical systems worldwide.


Geoff Ibbotson emphasizes the urgent need for increased funding and collaboration to build robust surgical care systems. He highlights the critical role these systems play in overall health system strengthening and achieving universal health coverage.

About Geoff Ibbotson

Dr. Geoffrey Ibbotson, MSc, MD, FRCSC, FACS, is Executive Director and Founding Member of the Global Surgery Foundation, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

He is also a senior health advisor at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). He has more than 25 years of experience in medical humanitarian and disaster relief work and has served as a front-line surgeon in multiple countries and several conflict zones, including Nepal, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Kenya.

While maintaining a busy surgical practice in Canada, he served as the Director of Trauma Services for the Northwest of Alberta from 2008 to 2016 and was the Chair of the Alberta Provincial Trauma Committee from 2014-16, which coordinated an integrated trauma system for 10 trauma hospitals in Alberta.

Transitioning into leadership positions over the past 10 years, he has advised and led organizational development and governance restructuring in several organizations, in addition to leading specialized surgical development programs.

Geoff and his wife Jenny, along with their three children, have enjoyed living overseas for many years as a family, while serving on the frontlines.


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