Stronger Teams, Safer Surgery 

Lifebox is a global nonprofit saving lives through safer surgery and anesthesia. We address critical gaps in surgical systems by investing in tools, training, and partnerships. As Lifebox enters our tenth year, we are launching an ambitious strategic plan to make every surgery safer. 


The 2021-24 Lifebox Strategic Plan targets the most critical moments in the end-to-end surgical patient journey by increasing the quality and impact of Lifebox programs across our three focus areas – safe anesthesia, teamwork, and surgical safety. The theme of this plan – Stronger Teams, Safer Surgery – puts multidisciplinary teamwork at the heart of our approach. We will work to strengthen the professions and processes both within and beyond the operating room, with a particular emphasis on nursing and post-operative care.

Lifebox will achieve measurable improvements in the safety of surgery and anesthesia across the end-to-end surgical patient journey at 400 facilities in 20 countries.

Key Programmatic Objectives:

  • Surgical infection prevention and safety processes strengthened in partner facilities, resulting in a 30% reduction in surgical site infection;
  • 10,000 professionals providing safer patient monitoring with pulse oximetry and/or capnography in operating room and recovery areas in partner facilities
  • Evidence of improved perioperative teamwork at 400 partner facilities

The Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery And Anesthesia Initiative 

Smile Train is the world’s leading cleft organization. Launched in September 2020, this three-year joint Initiative seeks to strengthen surgical systems in over 1,000 Smile Train partner hospitals by investing in capacity building, innovation, and research. Initiative priorities include:

  • Improving anesthesia monitoring through investment in pulse oximetry and developing a low-cost, high-quality capnograph
  • Launching “Team Cleft” – a perioperative teamwork training strategy tailored for cleft care
  • Implementing Clean Cut – Lifebox’s surgical site infection reduction program – for Cleft at Smile Train partner sites.


Lifebox is strongly committed to addressing inequities in global health due to structural neocolonialism both within our organization and in the global surgery community. We have set ambitious goals for investing in staff, leadership, and innovation in the regions where we work, reducing our footprint in high-income countries. 

“It is critical that we close the gap for the 5 billion people who don’t have access to safe surgery. The magic of Lifebox is that we are creating a movement, making safer surgery possible for patients everywhere and creating a better system as a whole.”

– Dr. Atul Gawande, Lifebox Co-Founder and Chair