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GE Foundation

GE Foundation Supports Expansion Of Safe Surgery 2020 Into Southeast Asia

September 29, 2018
GE Foundation announced its final piece of the $25 million commitment to global safe surgery by supporting the expansion of Safe Surgery 2020 into Southeast Asia, with the inclusion of Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The investment plays a vital role into accelerating access to surgical care in Southeast Asia as the region has one of the lowest levels of surgical provision in the world, with 97% of people currently unable to access safe surgical care.
Held at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, GE Foundation officially partnered with Cambodia’s Ministry of Health to strengthen surgical systems through Safe Surgery 2020’s programs on workforce development and targeted innovations and equipment support. Safe Surgery 2020 will collaborate with Calmette Hospital and the University of Health Sciences to develop a training hub that will develop the surgical workforce.


Seated on the left is Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President of GE and President & CEO, Global Growth Organization, and on the right is H.E. Ouch Borith, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Safe Surgery 2020 is strengthening the foundations of the surgical system so that essential surgical care will become safe and accessible. The initiative will focus on building the capacity of Cambodian institutions to continue transforming surgical care long into the future,” said Ann R. Klee, President, GE Foundation. “The Cambodian government is committed to improving quality and increasing access to health care in the country, and GE Foundation is pleased to be collaborating with the Ministry of Health to advance surgical care.”


Standing in the center from left to right: Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President of GE and President & CEO, Global Growth Organization; John Rice, former Vice Chair of GE; and Prime Minister Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia.

Safe Surgery 2020 was established in 2015 with the goal of reducing preventable deaths and accelerating access to safe surgery and anaesthesia worldwide. Safe Surgery 2020’s key objectives are:

  1. Impact: Reduce preventable deaths from surgically-treatable conditions by enhancing quality of care and increasing the surgical volume in Safe Surgery 2020-supported facilities;

  2. Innovation: Introduce and test innovative models for implementation in global health; and

  3. Scale: Build and strengthen sustainable ecosystems for essential and emergency surgery in low-resource areas.


Seated is H.E. Ouch Borith, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

GE Foundation’s investment in surgery in Southeast Asia builds on over ten years of work in the region to improve underserved and rural communities’ access to quality healthcare. Over that time, GE and GE Foundation has provided $12 million in funding to bring in modern medical equipment, develop an in-country biomedical engineering equipment technician training program (BMET) in collaboration with Duke University and Engineering World Health, and increase access to safe water by sponsoring water purification systems with training for healthcare facilities. The programs have supported more than 40 hospitals in 25 provinces.

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