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Register for anaesthesia focused All Party Parliament Group on Global Health - 13 Oct

APPG invite letterheadSafer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE) – How to reach the missing 5 billon

Virtual meeting: 13th October 2020 3.30 – 5.00pm BST

Click here to register for meeting

Meeting objectives

  • Why access to safe anaesthesia matters – the impacts and challenges
  • Highlighting the ongoing impact of SAFE training on anaesthesia provision worldwide – why the education and training really matter
  • Anaesthesia’s response to COVID-19, including the challenges of providing SAFE education and training in a COVID world.
  • What next – the future of training the next generation of anaesthetists in a COVID world and how we support it.

Reason for this meeting

5 out of the world’s 7 billion people continue to lack access to safe, affordable and timely anaesthesia and surgical care.

Globally people are suffering due to a lack of access to safe surgery and anaesthesia. This includes access to procedures that are often straightforward and cost effective.

  • In the world’s poorest countries 9 out of 10 anaesthesia departments do not have the equipment to provide a safe anaesthetic to a child.
  • More than 290,000 women die from pregnancy and birth complications every year - 90% of these deaths are preventable.
  • Over 80% of children in the world’s poorest countries are likely to have required surgical treatment by 15 years old.

Anaesthesia is essential for a well-functioning health system, as highlighted by World Health Assembly Resolution 68.15: ‘Strengthening Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and Anaesthesia as a Component of Universal Health Coverage’.

The vital role that anaesthesiologists play has been emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether working in emergency departments, operating rooms, or intensive care units they have been on the frontline.

A global health challenge

In many parts of the world a significant challenge facing the access to safe anaesthesia is the lack of skilled clinicians. The WFSA’s Global Anaesthesia Workforce Survey shows that Africa has a physician anaesthesia provider density of just 0.44 per 100,000 population, far below the WHO recommended interim target of 5 per 100,000.

As a means to reduce this needs gap, the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and , developed the Safer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE) training programme. Since its launch in 2007, this anaesthesiologist-led SAFE training programme has provided practical in-country training to over 4000 physician and non-physician providers in 45 countries.

This meeting marks World Anaesthesia Day on 16th October. The date commemorates the day in 1846 when doctors changed medicine forever by using ether to remove the torture of pain that previously accompanied surgery.


Despite nearly 170 years having passed since that first anaesthetic procedure and the countless breakthroughs that have succeeded it, access to safe anaesthesia remains out of reach for most people in this world. We want to change that.

Speakers

1. Lord Nigel Crisp (APPG Chair)
2. Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, WFSA
3. Prof Jean-marie Dangou, NCD Coordinator, WHO-AFRO
4. Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya President of CANECSA, Tanzanian ambassador to Canada.
5. Dr Christopher Chanda, National Coordinator of Anaesthesia at the Ministry of Health in Zambia
6. Dr Isabeau Walker, Foundation Trustee, The Association of Anaesthetists
7. Dr Mary Nabukenya (paeds), Uganda
8. Dr Andrew Kintu (obs), Uganda

This virtual APPG on Global Health meeting is supported by the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and the Association of Anaesthetists (UK and Ireland).
 

WFSA Election 2020 results announced

WFSA members have elected two new Presidents, and a new Board and Council. With 115 member societies taking part and over 300 votes cast, the 2020 election was the largest election in terms of participation and turnout in WFSA’s history. The elections are traditionally held once every 4 years during the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists but due to the congress's postponement the 2020 elections were held entirely online for the first time.

WFSA Board

The Board is responsible for the management of the Federation providing daily leadership, guidance and stewardship, taking account of the recommendations of the Council.

The newly elected WFSA Board is as follows:

  • Professor Adrian Gelb – President (USA)
  • Dr Wayne Morriss – President (New Zealand)
  • Professor Davy Cheng – Treasurer (Canada)
  • Professor Daniela Filipescu – Secretary (Romania)
  • Professor Walid Habre – Director Of Partnerships (Switzerland)
  • Dr Carolina Haylock-Loor – Director of Programmes (Honduras)

The Board will assume office as from the 1st October 2020. Professor Gelb and Dr Morriss have mutually agreed that Professor Gelb will serve as President for the first two years (with Dr Morriss as President Elect). After two years Dr Morriss will become President and Professor Gelb will serve as Immediate Past President.

Gelb AdrianFollowing his election to President, Professor Gelb said, "I'm delighted, humbled and honoured to be elected by my fellow professionals to the Presidency of WFSA at such a pivotal moment. The challenges facing health care systems have never been more pressing and WFSA has a vitally important role to play in supporting clinicians, policy makers, and service providers the world over. "

Professor Gelb continued, "I am fortunate to take over the presidency following the outstanding leadership of Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen and Dr Gonzalo Barreiro. I am looking forward to working closely with WFSA's member societies to continue to improve patient outcomes and strengthen anaesthesia globally through access to safe anesthesia."

wayne morrissDr Morriss, the new President Elect, who will take over the presidency in 2022 highlighted some of the challenges and opportunities that WFSA will face over the next four years, "The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to shine a spotlight on anaesthesiology worldwide. We have amazing skills inside and outside the operating room and it is vital that these skills are recognized and appropriately resourced.

The next 4 years will be challenging but there will also be many opportunities. The WFSA will be working hard to advocate for our specialty and protect the wellbeing of anaesthesiologists. I am looking forward to working with a great WFSA team and you all to strengthen our specialty and improve patient care worldwide."

WFSA Council

With representatives from all the Federation's components (National Societies, Regions, Committees, WCA COC Chair), the WFSA Council provides advice and recommendations on policy and subjects of common interest to the Federation.

The newly elected WFSA Council is as follows:

Africa and the Middle East

  • Dr Philippe Mavoungou – Congo
  • Dr Bisola Onajin-Obembe – Nigeria
  • Professor Patricia Yazbeck – Lebanon

Asia

  • Professor Yuguang Huang – China
  • Professor Il-Ok Lee – Korea
  • Professor Shigeru Saito – Japan

Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

  • Dr David Pescod – Australia

Europe

  • Dr Anna Spacek - Austria
  • Professor Stefan De Hert – Belgium
  • Dr Emilia Guasch – Spain

Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands

  • Dr Luiz Fernando dos Reis Falcão - Brazil
  • Dr Pedro Ibarra – Colombia

North Americas

  • Dr Dylan Bould – Canada
  • Dr Elizabeth Drum – USA

WFSA would like to thank all those nominees, member societies and secretariat for participating in the elections.

We're hiring - Digital Learning Lead

Job title - Digital Learning Lead
Location - London and home-based
Contract type - Permanent, Full-time
Salary range - £34,000 - £36,000 per year
Application deadline - 30 September 2020
Interviews - 7 & 8 October 2020

The successful applicant will contribute to the WFSA’s vision and mission and build the overall capacity of the WFSA Programmes team to provide digital education and training for anaesthesia providers around the world.

This is a new role which offers huge scope for development and learning across a broad remit. The Digitial Learning Lead will shape the design, development and roll-out of a high-quality digital learning experience in three initial stages:

  • Working with senior clinicians (training course leads) to transform pre-existing onsite training modules and short training courses into high-quality online products that can be effectively monitored and evaluated. This will result in developing new online training programmes as “stand-alone” courses as well as designing complements to onsite training courses (hybrid models).
  • Managing and evaluating existing online learning resources such as the WFSA’s Anaesthesia Tutorial of the Week, Update in Anaesthesia Journal, Virtual Library and COVID-19 Resources.
  • Working with WFSA Committees, our clinical volunteers and a variety of partners to establish and deliver new digital learning such as courses, webinars, educational videos and online lectures.

 Click here for more information and details on how apply visit Visit the Charity Job 

If you have a passion for digital learning then we want to hear from you.

WHO-AFRO Statement - Protecting and supporting health workers is central to Africa's COVID response

In line with WFSA's position as a non-State actor in official relations with WHO, the WFSA board have submitted the following statement for a special session of the 70th WHO Regional Committee for Africa on Africa's COVID.

Protecting and supporting health workers is central to Africa's COVID response

The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) is the largest global anaesthetic network, representing 100,000’s of anaesthesiologists in 137 countries, nearly a third of which are from the Africa region. We work with the WHO and other organisations to achieve universal access to safe anaesthesia.

The importance of access to safe anaesthesia as part of a well-functioning health system is widely accepted as per WHA Resolution 68.15 on ‘Strengthening Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and Anaesthesia as a component of Universal Health Coverage’.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, anaesthesiologists have played a pivotal frontline and leadership role in emergency departments, operating rooms, and intensive care units saving patients’ lives across the region. Anaesthesiologists are medical specialists, with expertise in the perioperative care of surgical patients, resuscitation, pain medicine and intensive care. This expertise has been vital in the area of oxygen therapy including patient ventilation. Their knowledge and adaptability has been critical to continuing to provide services in the face of the inconsistent or prohibitively expensive oxygen supplies that many countries are faced with.

Anaesthesiologists, together with other health workers, are the most important resource we have. Not only in the fight against COVID but also the other essential care that hospitals and health centres provide. We must ensure they are protected, supported and have the resources they need to do their jobs protecting populations.

No health system can function without a sufficient number of healthy and competent health workers. Therefore, WHO AFRO member states must ensure that for current and future pandemics, health workers have sufficient provision of disease appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other tools to prevent them from becoming sick and unable to treat their patients. Health workers wellbeing must be prioritised. This includes regulating working hours, rest breaks and other measures to create a supportive environment to counteract ill-health and burnout.

This region’s ability to effectively respond to the increased strain on its health care systems is further hamstrung by an on-going lack of skilled and appropriately trained anaesthesia providers.

The WFSA’s Global Anaesthesia Workforce Survey shows that Africa has a physician anaesthesia provider density of just 0.44 per 100,000 population, far below the WHO recommended interim target of 5 per 100,000. In response, WFSA together with its partners, have developed a series of quality training and education programmes for physicians and non-physician providers alike.

For WHO Africa Region member states to meet the WHO recommended workforce targets, especially in anticipation of the next pandemic, there is an urgent need to develop and implement, national policy and financing frameworks that will sustainably grow and support vital anaesthesia services.

WFSA and its members work with national governments and others to develop National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAP) incorporating the WHO-WFSA international standards for safe
practice of anaesthesia. These coordinated health plans provide a framework for governments to mitigate and sustainably address the health challenges posed by the COVID pandemic.

The WFSA calls on WHO AFRO member states and stakeholders to:

  • Protect our most valuable resource, frontline health workers, by providing a safe working environment, including appropriate PPE.
    • Develop, integrate and fund National Surgery, Obstetrics and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAP) within national health policy and planning frameworks.
    • Address chronic workforce deficiencies in anaesthesia and intensive care through the scale- up of training and continued medical education.
    • Provide and maintain essential equipment for, anaesthesia resuscitation and intensive care, including the provision of affordable and consistent supply of oxygen therapy.

 

Alert Letter from the WFSA Professional Wellbeing Committee

Anesthesiologists are highly trained health professionals, prepared to deal with the full spectrum of perioperative care including major surgery, trauma, obstetrics, critically ill patients, and management of pain in all of its manifestations. As a specialty we have risen to the occasion to take on the challenges of caring for the highest risk surgical patients during the SARS epidemic and now the COVID-19 pandemic. In these circumstances, anesthesiology professionals showed great resolve, scientific and educational adaptability, and demonstrated our essential role in the delivery of care.

At the outset of the pandemic there was significant uncertainty regarding modes of transmission of the virus. Anesthesiology professionals who were called upon to intubate suspected COVID-19 patients were forced to confront the fear of potentially becoming infected and spreading the virus to co-workers or their families. In high-risk patients, the short time between hospitalization to deterioration and respiratory distress requiring mechanical ventilator support was so dramatic that it was brutal fight for every breath. These experiences were potentially psychologically harmful, for the patients and our professionals. Compounding this, the initial inadequate availability of rapid and reliable COVID-19 diagnostic testing, along with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) added to the stress involved in the care of these patients. It became impossible to know if what we were doing to protect ourselves and our family members was adequate. The combined result of all of these factors has been a vulnerability to numerous psychologically generated phenomena such as shared trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, burnout, alcoholism and substance abuse, all capable of influencing our professional and personal wellbeing,.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound effect on all aspects of global society including mental and physical health. This reality of a “4th wave” affecting mental health may result in an increase in the incidence of psychogenic depression, burnout syndrome, drug dependence, and suicide in physicians (particularly anesthesiologists) who are involved in the medical care of these patients.

alert

1st Wave: Immediate mortality and morbidity of COVID-19. 1st Wave Tail: Post-ICU and admission recovery for many patients.
2nd Wave: Impact of resource restrictions on non-COVID conditions – all the usual urgent things that people need immediate treatment for – acute.
3rd Wave: The impact of interrupted care of chronic conditions (people stayed home).
4th Wave: Psychic trauma, mental illness, PTSD, economic injury, burnout, and more.

The world is rightly focused on measures to suppress COVID-19 transmission and protect the most vulnerable, along with research to develop treatment drugs and a vaccine. However, the mental health impacts of COVID-19 to the healthcare professionals will be significant. There is an increasingly urgent need to understand and address these impacts through research and supportive measures for the Physicians/residents/nurses (Anesthesiologists).

Questions to be answered by anesthesiologists / residents / nurses in an introspective way in order to initiate a psychic reflection on the psychogenic reflexes generated by medical care during covid-19 pandemic.

  1. Thinking about the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, what, if any, concerns do you have about the impact on your mental wellbeing?
  2. We are keen to understand what people are doing to support their mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. What, if anything, has been helping your mental wellbeing at this time?
  3. Is there anything that you think has been helping your mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic?

Priority concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health of the physicians / residents / nurses involved in medical support:

  • Anxiety
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Becoming mentally unwell (fatigue, Burnout, behavior of suicide, drug dependence, others)
  • Difficulty accessing mental health support and services
  • Changes in the family and relationships (including issues for children and young people, and older people)
  • Financial support suggestions:
    • Offer the staff extra money
    • Offer the staff extra days-off
    • Offer the staff paid holidays or at least heavily discounted holidays, in order to be able to provide this option to the staff, a committee should be formed to negotiate with bodies like banks, airlines and hotels to negotiate the reasonable way to do it.

Conclusion

In order to build a caring and supportive professional environment, WFSA and member societies are seeking to develop new and innovative well-being programmes which link clinician health and well being to quality and patient safety. A peer-to-peer wellbeing programme must be established in each Anesthesiology Department. This programme should focus on empathic listening, sharing experiences with peers, support and refer; such a programme should not provide diagnosis, nor therapy which we have the referred medical professional to manage. We need to develop our faculty with such peer support skills in resilience: Control, Commitment, Connections, Calm, and Care.

Recommended Literature

Authors

Gastão F. Duval Neto (Chair of WFSA Professional Well-being Committee (PWC))
Miodrag Milenovic (Chair of WFSA Education Committee)
Bisola Onajin-Obembe (Chair of the WFSA African Regional Section)
Daniela Filipescu (WFSA council member)
Carolina Haylock-Loor (WFSA council member)
Fauzia Khan (WFSA board member)
Davy Cheng (Chair of WFSA Scientific Affairs Committee)
Ezzat Aziz (PWC member)
Stuart Brooker (PWC member)
Venkatagiri Kalandoor (PWC member)
Wichelewski Josef (PWC member)

Applications Open: 2021 WFSA New Delhi Thoracic Anaesthesia Fellowship

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, WFSA Fellowships are under constant review. This opportunity may be cancelled or postponed at any time based on the best advice.

Applications are invited for two thoracic anaesthesia fellowship positions at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi, India.

The anticipated start dates of the fellowship are January and July 2021 and the duration of training will be six months. The main aim of the fellowship is to provide training in thoracic anaesthesia, but there will also be opportunities to get experience in cardiac anaesthesia and cardiothoracic intensive care.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital is a super-specialty hospital with 675 beds situated in New Delhi, India. It has been running postgraduate training (DNB) in a range of specialties since 1988. The Department of Anaesthesia started its DNB (Anaesthesia) programme in 1991 and eight students are enrolled each year. The department also provides specialised training in cardiothoracic anaesthesia, transplant anaesthesia (renal and liver) and pain management.

The fellowship is intended for a young anaesthesiologist working in a low resource setting in Asia or Africa.

Applicants should fit the following criteria:

• Must be supported in their application by their own national anaesthesiology society
• Must be supported in their application by the chief / head of their home department
• Must be returning to their home country to a recognized post
• Should preferably be working in a teaching hospital

The fellow will receive accommodation and a modest stipend from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. The WFSA will provide funding to cover the cost of return travel from the fellow's home country to New Delhi, India.

The successful applicant will be required to apply for temporary registration with the Medical Council of India during the training period and obtain medical insurance covering the duration of the fellowship.

For more information, please contact the programme head, Professor Jayashree Sood (drjayashreesood@gmail.com).

How to apply:

The closing date for applications is the 16th September 2020. Successful applicants will be notified before the end of September 2020.

Applicants must complete the Fellowship Application Form and provide all the documents listed at the end of the form:

• Curriculum vitae with one recent photo and the names of two referees
• Letter of recommendation from the applicant's national anaesthesiology society
• Letter of recommendation from the applicant's head of department or hospital management
• Copy of medical degree
• Copy of specialist anaesthetic qualification
• Copy of photograph page of passport

Please complete your application online using the link below: https://wfsagrants.awardsplatform.com/

Applications open for Bangkok Anaesthesia Fellowships

The Bangkok Anaesthesia Regional Training Centre (BARTC) is a fellowship programme open to anaesthesiologists from Asian countries. The fellowship programme is supported by WFSA and the Royal College of Anesthesiologists of Thailand (RCAT). 

BARTC trainees study full time for 1 year. They spend the first 6 months in a medical school hospital in Bangkok, and then 4 months in 2 provincial hospitals. The final month is spent back at the medical school in Bangkok to prepare for and sit the final examination.

The trainees have hands-on training in the operating rooms, and are able take part in practical patient care. This programme is taught in English, though a basic knowledge of Thai would be helpful when communicating with patients. 

Start date - 15 January 2021
Duration - 12 months
Application deadline - 5 September 2020
Application process - Download criteria and application forms here

UNITAR, Global Surgery Foundation and WFSA partner to build anaesthesia and surgery capacity worldwide

UNITAR

WFSA and United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) have agreed to enter into partnership through the Global Surgery Foundation to coordinate efforts to build the capacity of anaesthesia and surgery in countries and regions most in need of assistance.

Embedded within UNITAR, the Global Surgery Foundation facilitates collaboration with organisations such as the WHO, UN Member State missions and a wide range of NGOs to strengthen global surgical capacity.

The Global Surgery Foundation and WFSA partnership aims to develop a range of activities to help build in-country capacity. A key initiative, is to improve access to expert-led continued medical education and training. The collaboration will raise awareness of the need to strengthen global anaesthesia and surgery to realise Universal Health Coverage and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end the partnership will be urging governments to develop and implement National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans.

WFSA's Chief Executive Officer, Julian Gore-Booth said, "WFSA are delighted to be working with colleagues at UNITAR and the Global Surgery Foundation to strengthen anaesthesia and surgical care worldwide. The current global health crisis shows how essential anaesthesiologists and the wider surgical team are to a functioning health service that is able to respond effectively and safely to the needs of the communities they serve. Through this partnership we’ll be exploring innovative ways to address the scope, scale and quality of the training and support that surgical teams so desperately need. Our aim is to improve clinical outcomes for patients and, ultimately, save more lives. "

New research: The effectiveness of anaesthesia training in low-income settings

New research findings highlight the effectiveness of the Safer Anaesthesia from Education (SAFE) training programme in improving the knowledge and skill of anaesthesia providers in low-income settings.

kenya safe researchPublished in Anaesthesia 2020, the study assesses the educational impact of the SAFE Obstetrics training programme on anaesthesia providers in Kenya.

Maternal mortality rates in low-middle income countries remains high, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for two-thirds of global maternal deaths. Inadequate staff training is one of the main contributors to anaesthesia related deaths.

To address this lack of training, the SAFE course was created by World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) and the Association of Anaesthetists. With courses covering obstetrics, paediatrics and the operation room, SAFE training courses have been delivered to over 2,300 clinicians in 36 countries since its launch in 2011.

The study which brought together anaesthesiologists from Kenya, the UK and the US, sought to investigate whether SAFE training was translated into changes in clinical behaviours in the workplace. It aimed to explore the barriers and facilitators to the adoption of recommended anaesthetic care by providers who had been trained on a SAFE obstetric anaesthesia course.

Demonstrating positive outcomes from educational interventions, and understanding why such interventions do or do not lead to improvement, is crucial if programmes like SAFE are to improve the practice of health professionals and improve patient outcomes.

Researchers analysed the knowledge and practices of 103 anaesthesia providers from 66 facilities across Kenya who attended the SAFE course between 2016 and 2017. As part of the study, participants undertook knowledge tests and were observed at work to measure potential behaviour change engendered by the training.

Team communication and pre-operative assessment were identified as significant influencers on positive behaviour change amongst anaesthesia providers. Test results showed that SAFE training also led to sustained improved knowledge retention.

The study demonstrates that the SAFE obstetric course is relevant in the low-resource setting and leads to improved knowledge and clinical practice.


With the need to scale up the anaesthesia workforce in LMICs, the research recommends that all new educational programmes undergo the same rigorous evaluation as the SAFE courses to ensure effective use of resources and to demonstrate positive training outcomes.

Further resources

WHA73 Statement - The essential role of anaesthesiologists in the COVID-19 response

who imageIn line with WFSA's position as a non-State actor in official relations with WHO, the WFSA board have submitted the following statement under the 73rd World Health Assembly provisional agenda item 3 Address by WHO Director-General devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The essential role of anaesthesiologists in the COVID-19 response

The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) represents anaesthesiologists in 150 countries. We work with the WHO and other organizations to improve access to safe anaesthesia worldwide.

5 out of 7 billion people in this world do not have access to safe anaesthesia and surgery. Anaesthesia is essential for a well-functioning health system, as highlighted by WHA Resolution 68.15 on Strengthening Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and Anaesthesia as a Component of Universal Health Coverage.

Anaesthesiologists are medical specialists who are not just experts in the perioperative care of surgical patients; they are also experts in resuscitation, pain medicine and intensive care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, anaesthesiologists working in emergency departments, operating rooms, and intensive care units have played a pivotal frontline role in saving the lives of infected patients.
Unfortunately, in many low- and middle-income countries, there has been chronic under-resourcing of anaesthesia and intensive care. High-income countries have struggled to cope with COVID-19 and the pandemic is likely to have an even more devastating impact in countries with fewer resources.

WFSA welcomes efforts by donors to increase the supply of PPE and intensive care equipment to low resource settings. However, these donations risk being underutilized if there are not enough skilled and appropriately trained providers to use and maintain this equipment.
The WFSA calls on WHO member states and the donor community to:

  •  Address chronic workforce deficiencies in anaesthesia and intensive care;
  •  Provide and maintain essential equipment for resuscitation, anaesthesia and intensive care;
  • Adhere to the WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anaesthesia; 
  • Protect our most valuable resource, frontline health workers, by providing a safe working environment, including appropriate PPE.

Further links

17th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists rescheduled to 2021

WCA2021 baner logo 2In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the WFSA Board and WCA Local Organising Committee have decided to reschedule the 17th WFSA World Congress of Anaesthesiologists. We made this decision after careful consideration of our first and overriding priority: the health and wellbeing of all Congress participants.

The event was due to be held in Prague, Czech Republic from September 5 to 9, 2020, and is now planned to take place from September 1 to 5, 2021 in the same location.

Most arrangements for the World Congress will remain the same - only the dates will change. The scientific programme already developed for September 2020 will form the basis of an updated programme that will reflect the new challenges faced by our speciality. Current arrangements, such as delegate registrations and abstract submissions, will be automatically transferred. The Congress Secretariat will shortly send detailed information to all partners, exhibitors, speakers and delegates.

WFSA will send guidance concerning the General Assembly, elections and other governance matters to National Member Societies as soon as possible, for their consideration and input.

We are so proud and grateful that anaesthesiologists all over the world have stepped up to be at the front line of the response to this crisis, often at great personal risk. It is impressive that so many of you take time to share your experiences with the rest of the global community to help them prepare and deal with the pandemic. You are all demonstrating our crucial role in healthcare.

We are optimistic that the new timing, exactly one year later than originally planned, will ensure that we can deliver a high quality scientific programme and give all of you the time and the space for rest and recuperation before we gather for the best ever World Congress of Anaesthesiologists.

Stay safe and we look forward to seeing all of you in September 2021 in Prague.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jannicke Mellin-Olsen
President of the WFSA

Prof. MUDr. Karel Cvachovec, CSc., MBA
President of the Organising Committee of the WCA 2020

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