Global Ambassador Announcement

Professor Miliard Derbew announced as Global Ambassador of the Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative.

We are delighted to announce Professor Miliard Derbew as the Global Ambassador of the Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative. Professor Derbew is a passionate medical educator, surgeon, and global health leader with 30 years of experience in the health and education systems. As Global Ambassador, he will provide leadership and guidance to the Smile Train-Lifebox Initiative to elevate the standard of pediatric surgical care globally.  

“If we want to reduce infant mortality further, we need interventions to work deeply on the surgical management of children.”

Professor Miliard Derbew, Global Ambassador, Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative

“I have worked as a pediatric surgeon in Eastern Africa for 24 years. This work is both a privilege and a challenge since our region does not have the necessary resources to provide safe, comprehensive surgical care to the millions of needy children in our region.

Governments and policymakers do not give the necessary attention to children in low- and middle-income countries. Without the required support systems, including infrastructure and human resources, we do not have good surgical outcomes for our children. Sustainable Development Goal 3.2 to “end preventable deaths in neonates and children under 5 by 2030” is unachievable without urgent action to improve access to quality pediatric surgical care in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

As a surgeon, it is always heartbreaking when a child dies after or during surgery. Knowing that had they been born in a different place they would have had access to the necessary care is a difficult burden to bear. We desperately need to focus on safe pediatric surgical care.  

This is why I am absolutely honored to serve as the Global Ambassador of the Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative. Using cleft lip and palate surgery as an entry-point into the surgical system, this Initiative will strengthen the safety of pediatric surgery – improving the surgical and anesthesia care for thousands of children globally.

In this role I will continue to advocate for focus and funding from governments and policymakers for interventions that work deeply on the surgical management of children. We need safe surgery to be practiced for good outcomes. We need to scale training and capacity building. We need research and innovation in pediatric surgical care. Only through this can we work to keep every precious life safe. 

As the Initiative’s Global Ambassador, I look forward to keeping you abreast of this work in the year ahead to make every surgery safer. Thank you.”

Professor Derbew takes over from Dr. Atul Gawande who was Global Amabassador for year one of the Smile Train-Lifebox Initiative. 

Watch Professor Derbew discuss surgical safety with leading experts in this video below.