English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French German Spanish

A conversation with women in anaesthesia

Historically, women have always been underrepresented in medicine. Even though women make up 50% of the physicians in training and 78% of the medical workforce they still only account for a third of physicians within the workforce. Despite, anesthesiology seeing a steady increase in the number of residents who are women, there is still a significantly faster increase in terms of women graduating medical school than those becoming anaesthesia residents.

Gender disparity is not only about the number of women entering medical school but also in regards to career progression, academic advancement, women in leadership roles and pay.

Recognising this potential gender gap within anesthesiology, WFSA established the Ad-Hoc Gender Committee, in 2018 to increase women with WFSA leadership positions and facilitate participation in gender panels and forums.

For International Women’s Day 2020, WFSA interviewed notable women leaders and future leaders within anaesthesia including: Dr. Jannicke Mellin-Olsen (Norway), President of WFSA; Dr. Carolina Haylock-Loor (Honduras), WFSA Council member and Chairperson of WFSA’s Ad-Hoc Gender Committee; Professor Patricia Yazbeck (Lebanon), WFSA Council member and President of PAFSA; Dr. Karima Khalid (Tanzania), SAFE Tanzania Course Director; Dr. Gita Nath (India), VAST Hyderabad Course Director and Dr. Marjory Ayma Palacios (Peru), WFSA Pain Management Fellowship alumni.

What challenges do women face when becoming anaesthesiologists?

Carolina: Women in anaesthesia in some countries do face bias in their work but not because of anaesthesia but their surrounding responsibilities that make her a woman e.g. maternity, pregnancy and raising children. A lot of women face depression and burnout as a result. In some countries, they are very aware of what is going on and try to support women in their career. It’s a trending topic and you can speak up easier than before but women will need to keep struggling.

Karima:Numerically, there are no issues because there are a lot of women in anaesthesia and the medical profession overall in Tanzania. However, we face challenges making our voices heard. Women are normally the first to push things forwards for change etc. but they are put in the background. Men usually outshine us. Sometimes in a clinic even if you have tried your best someone will talk to the male nurse and not to the female doctor. It’s hard to progress in leadership/senior roles. I have observed how WFSA treats women and men equally and I appreciate that. You are expected to put 100% into your work, family and community, its draining and burnouts happen frequently. Sometimes you just need to narrow down what you want to do to realign your priorities and emotions.

Marjory:One of the biggest challenges has been breaking the stereotype that women are only able to look after their home, family and children and that we have lower job performance and more absenteeism. In addition, women have to break down gender gaps such as job hostility and the myth that they are less willing to face risks. I have managed to become an anesthesiologist because these cultural gaps and stereotypes have been breaking down in time and showing commitment to every step I take.

Gita: When I started off in the profession there were a lot of men and not that many women. Women are now about 50% of the workforce however most choose obstetrics/paediatric/pre-clinical to balance their home/work life.

Jannicke: I have been very lucky, in Norway, the gender balance is very good but you must acknowledge the difficulties, sometimes I had cases where people would address a junior doctor because he was a man and ignore me. Also, Norway is a country on top of gender equality but there are many unexpressed expectations. Men and women are on the same level but there are different expectations for things you can and can’t do.

Patricia:Personally I have not faced many challenges. Lebanon is a more open society but due to the persistent gender inequality it is not easy for all women to be represented in the workforce. Some hospitals won’t employ women anaesthesiologists and only hire male anaesthesiologists because they won’t take time out. We should continue to fight against gender discrimination and issues like Lebanese women physicians not having access to long maternity leaves should be addressed.

Why is it important to increase the number of women in anaesthesia?

Carolina:It is important to increase the number of women in medicine but also to ensure equity, in leadership, wages, and training, acting in a respectful and dignified way towards women. Women need a comfortable working environment, with access to maternity leave, areas for breast feeding, time off to raise children etc. Provisions must be made to support their potential or they’ll quit because they have no support. Research has shown women will drop out if the pressure in their residency programme/working is incompatible with pregnancy or child rearing.

Marjory:I believe women bring an important balance to professional life, we are resourceful and always look for alternatives ways. Our mission should be to change the perception of stereotypes and show that we are committed, capable of leading and cultivating resilience with the right support.

Gita:A lot of patients who come in for C-sections and other procedures and request a female anaesthesiologists, some women only want women around them due to cultural/religious reasons. I personally find women easier to connect with, for example when women are taking the VAST course I find them easier to network with. I feel women are more committed to their work, they aren’t trying to become heroes and are good for patients, and it’s not about how much risk they are willing to take. Women do basic everyday things safely. There is a difference in mindset between men and women.

Patricia:In a study of literature, patients who were treated by women had a different standard of care, they provide preventive care and they have good communication skills. Women can give a lot, they have patient centred communication.

Jannicke:It is important to note that in some countries women are the majority with around 80% entering medical school. There is an increasing balance.

Why do you feel WFSA's Ad-Hoc Gender Committee is important?

Carolina:It is very relevant and important to create awareness of inequality. We first observed it within WFSA leadership, there were 20% women and the rest were men. The Ad-Hoc Gender Committee had a summit in London last year, there was a lot of diversity and professionalism. Minority groups were represented and how to increase diversity, we are presently conducting a gender survey. In summary, our objectives are to try to create equal opportunities for every anaesthesiologist. We must bring equal opportunity regardless of gender/race/religion and give respect to human dignity.

What advice would you give women who would like to pursue anaesthesiology?

Carolina:I would encourage every woman to go after her dreams and fulfil her goals. Don’t give up, it’s a male world and we know it but we are slowly gaining step by step Try to have allies your friends, your husbands and family, this can make a huge difference to get into the field. Do your best. Chase your goals but also remember to pay good forwards.

Karima:You should always try to push ideas forward, take a seat at the table and make sure you are seen and heard. Don’t let anyone silence you. Do what you need to do and make a change in the world.

Jannicke:If you want to become an anaesthesiologist you should go for it and trust yourself, you can do it.

An appreciation of Dr Ruth Hutchinson

Ruth HutchinsonRuth Hutchinson was someone of whom you could truly claim “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore”.

My wife and I first met Ruth when she came over to Malawi in 1991. She had driven over from Parirenyatwa Hospital, Harare, to see our Clinical Officer Training programme and visit 16 district hospitals. At that time this was a troublesome journey as Mozambique was still in civil war and you had to cross from Zimbabwe with military escort.

Later she embarked on that most memorable achievement, organising the 1st All Africa Anaesthesia Congress in 1997. I still wear the T-Shirt, brightly coloured after 23 years; Ruth chose the maker wisely which was not easy then (or even now).

It may be less well known that her Zimbabwean head of department had just cleared off to Canada and ‘volunteered’ her for the job on 2 minutes notice. She had no previous experience of such events, used no professional congress organiser but rose to the challenge and did it singlehandedly, brilliantly, without antagonising anyone or wasting a penny. Her house on Charles Bullock Ave in Harare became the de-facto nerve centre, printing and storage facility preparing for the Congress. In her study she introduced me to a young man that she had just found ‘who knows about computers’ and could do the IT. She could delegate, had insight, superb judgement and above all humility. Plenty of lessons for us all there.

In my view the success of the 1997 AAAC remains unsurpassed and I like to think her earlier Malawi visit informed her down-to-earth approach to the event.

Our family visited her many times in Harare and she also came over to Malawi to see us, one time on her way through to Mozambique where she had village projects helping people in the neglected north eastern provinces. She drove her unwieldy long wheel base Landrover over terrible roads even in the wet season and always with her life-long friend and companion Margaret who died some years ago.

She also gave freely of her time as an external examiner on the Malawi Anaesthetic Clinical Officer training course.

Latterly, post Africa, she visited us in France and we saw her once in her retirement home on Hayling Island back in England. Margaret had been her neighbour there also. Before coming to Zimbabwe, Ruth had been a consultant at Poole General Hospital and I asked her once if this African adventure meant she had departed the UK for good. “Oh no”, she said, “old age care is much better back home”. And so it proved to be.

We corresponded but my recent emails to Ruth have gone answered, with no Christmas cards of late so the sad news of her death after such a long and eventful life was not a complete surprise.

Ruth surely deserves the premier place in the Anaesthesia Heroes Hall of Fame lest her great, significant but humble life be forgotten.

She showed us all how to do it.

Paul Fenton

Formerly in Malawi 1986-2001

How strengthening anaesthesia rebalances gender inequalities

IWD 2019 EN InFocus 960x450International Women’s Day is a welcome opportunity to both celebrate the achievements of women and identify actions to accelerate progress towards gender equality. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the area of global health and more specifically global anaesthesia and surgery. While advances have been acheived, much more needs to be done if we are to achieve true health care equality, writes Hira Aftab.

Major progress has been made towards realising Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)_3) and ensuring healthier lives for all at all ages. Millions of people now expect to live longer lives and there has been a reduction in maternal and child mortality rates. However with more than half of the population unable to access basic health care, including safe anaesthesia and surgery and with costs continually rising, we risk stalling this progress. This picture of a faltering advance is especially true for maternal health. 

Since 2000, the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth has fallen by a third but progress remains slow, with the rate of decline meaning SDG 2030 targets risk being missed. According to estimates 303,000 women a year die in childbirth or from complications arising due to pregnancy. This means every 2 minutes a women dies. Lower and middle income countries are hit hardest, comprising nearly 94% of maternal deaths worldwide. Obstetric violence, a term coined in Latin America refers to the degrading and cruel treatment women receive during pregnancy, childbirth and their postpartum period. The effects of this inhumane treatment has both short and long lasting implications on a woman such as unneeded suffering and pain, humiliation, ill-health, sterility and may even lead to death

The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that women who live in rural areas, and women of colour are more likely to experience abusive treatment. This is not limited to lower and middle income (LMIC) settings, in the US maternal death have increased by  over 50%, with black women being  3 times more likely than their white counterparts to die while giving birth. The cost to prevent women dying in childbirth is increasing and is projected to increase nearly six fold by 2030.

Strengthening the anaesthesia workforce

As a response to this global need to strengthen obstetric care provision and help reduce the maternal mortality rate, the SAFE Obstetrics course was created to provide a three-day training course dedicated to strengthening the capacity of both physician and non-physician anaesthetic providers in LMICs.

SAFE Obstetrics focuses on the role of the anaesthesia provider in obstetric emergencies through clinical scenarios based on the conditions known to cause 80% of maternal deaths: haemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia, obstructed labour, the complications of abortion and the complications anaesthesia. The course also provides training on new-born resuscitation.

Since its launch in 2016, over 40 SAFE Obstetrics courses in 16 countries have provided practical tailored training to over 600 anaesthesia providers. To ensure the sustainability of this course a further 318 facilitators have be trained to run their own courses. 

Gender pain gap

Gender inequality within the health care sector is not limited to obstetrics, research has shown the notion of a ‘gender pain gap’ noting that women are more likely to be left suffering for much longer in hospitals when complaining of pain. Most notably, an article published on the  Harvard Health blog states ‘women in pain are more likely to receive sedatives than pain medication for their aliments.’

To address this imbalance WFSA together is working with its members and partners to improve understanding and practices around how to treat and manage pain. The Essential Pain Management training programme is vital component of this work. Run in over 55 countries the course brings together health care workers to improve their pain knowledge, implement a simple framework for managing pain and address pain management barriers. The EPM programme is designed for any health worker who comes in contact with patients who have pain.

Global health leadership

With the majority of leadership in global health comprised of men, gender equality in health care is often not prioritised. Gender imbalance more often than not results in not enough women being present to influence policy decisions in regards to gendered issues such as sexual and reproductive health, which often end up falling through the gaps. Recognising this issue, WFSA established the Ad-Hoc Gender Committee in 2018, dedicated to ensuring gender balance within the WFSA and to devise and implement support for women anaesthesiologists to participate in leadership training programmes.

By strengthening the leadership, skills and numbers of anaesthesia providers, countries around the globe can deliver health services that are better placed to provide skilled care before, during and after childbirth, thereby improved the health outcomes of millions of women worldwide. 

Further resources

Applications now open: Obstetric Anaesthesia Fellowship programme, Port Harcourt and Zaria, Nigeria 2020

Applications are invited for two 6-month Obstetric Anaesthesia Fellowship positions starting in July 2020 at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital and University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.

Fellowship Details 

The duration of the fellowship is 6 months with an expected start date of the 1st July 2020. The programme head is Dr Elizabeth Ogboli Nwasor in Zaria and Prof. Sotonye Fyneface-Ogan in Port Harcourt. The fellowship is divided into two 3 months placements starting in Port Harcourt and then transferring to Zaria after 3 months.

The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital is an 850-bed hospital with an 8-bed ICU, 48-bed maternity ward, a 30-cot special care baby unit, and an Emergency room. There are 18 Obstetricians, one Obstetric Anaesthetist (Prof. Sotonye Fyneface-Ogan) and other consultant anaesthetists with related interests. UPTH has 11 operating theatres and has 2 operating theatres for obstetrics. The hospital carries out an average of 1,500 vaginal deliveries and 1,200 - 1,500 Caesarean sections (elective and emergency) yearly.

Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital is a 750 bed teaching hospital with 26 wards and 2 paediatric surgical wards, an 8-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Maternity (Obstetric) and Gynaecology Wards with 35 beds each, a Delivery Suite (Labour Ward) a 25- bed neonatal ward, a Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) with 25 units, as well as a 35 bed-space children’s emergency room and 5 Operating theatres with 10 suites, including a 5- suite Modular theatre and a Labour Ward operating theatre. 

The fellowship will provide advanced specialty training in all aspects of obstetric anaesthesia including but not limited to anaesthesia for high risk obstetrics, pain relief in labour, recent advances in obstetric anaesthesia and analgesia, optimising fetal outcomes and perinatal care.

Applicant Profile 

The programme is intended for fully qualified anaesthesiologists working in low resource settings who wish to develop knowledge and skills in the field of obstetric anaesthesia. Preference will be given to anaesthesiologists aged 40 years or younger who are working in African and Asian countries. Older anaesthesiologists may apply and the selection panel will consider each applicant’s place of work and other factors when making its decision. 

Applications from anaesthesiologists working in Specialist Training Centres, Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres in Africa and Asia may be given priority.

Applicants should fit the following criteria:

• Must be supported in their application by their own national anaesthetic society
• Must be supported in their application by the chief / head of their home department
• Must be returning to their home country to train others
• The fellowship offers funding for accommodation and a contribution towards living expenses.

For more information, please contact Dr Elizabeth Ogboli Nwasor at drnwasor@yahoo.com.

Application Process 

The deadline for applications is the 22nd March 2020. In order to apply please use our online application system here to complete an application form and upload the following documents.

• 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 anaesthesiology qualification
• Copy of photograph page of Passport

Applications will be considered by a panel of anaesthesiologists selected by WFSA, and successful applicants will be informed by mid-April 2020.

Successful applicants must confirm their intention to take up the scholarship within 2 days of notification. Failure to do so will result in the scholarship being offered to the next applicant.

Applications now open: WFSA Regional Anaesthesia Clinical Attachment at KATH, Kumasi, Ghana 2020

Applications are invited for one 3-month Regional Anaesthesia clinical attachment at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana. 

Fellowship Details 

KATH is situated in the Ashanti Region and is the second-largest hospital in Ghana. It has 1000 beds and is accredited for training by the West African College of Surgeons.

The attachment is intended to provide an introduction to the basic principles, techniques, limitations and complications of commonly used US-guided Regional Anaesthesia techniques. The planned start date of the fellowship is the 15th June 2020.

Applicant Profile 

The attachment is intended for an African anaesthesiologist working in a low resource setting who would like an introduction to the practice of Regional Anaesthesia. Applicants must be eligible for medical registration in Ghana. Local anaesthesiologists, possibly supplemented by visiting clinicians, will provide clinical supervision and teaching.

Applicants should fit the following criteria:

• Must be supported in their application by their own national anaesthetic 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
• Preference will given to applicants under 40 years of age
• Should preferably be working in a teaching hospital.

The WFSA will provide funding for travel, accommodation and subsistence living expenses.

For more information, please contact the Programme Head, Dr Akwasi Antwi-Kusi (antwikusi@yahoo.com)

Application Process 

The deadline for applications is the 22nd March 2020. In order to apply please use our online application system here to complete an application form and upload the following documents.

• 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 anaesthesiology qualification
• Copy of photograph page of Passport

Applications will be considered by a panel of anaesthesiologists selected by WFSA, and successful applicants will be informed before the end April 2020.

Successful applicants must confirm their intention to take up the scholarship within 2 days of notification. Failure to do so will result in the scholarship being offered to the next applicant.

Aplicaciones abiertas: “Fellowship” en medicina del dolory en Botucatu, Brasil, 2020

Entrenamiento y actualización en Manejo del Dolor Agudo y Cronico, conocimientos que luego se podrán transmitir por el becario a sus colegas tras el retorno a su país, con el resultante beneficio en la atención de los pacientes.

Detalles de la beca

La beca cubre parcialmente los gastos de alojamiento y valor agregado para viáticos durante el periodo establecido de la pasantía. Las condiciones de la beca se ajustan a la reglamentación actualizada del programa que la Confederación tiene a disposición y que se adjunta a esta convocatoria.

Información, Aplicación Y Reglamentos Del Programa:

www.wfsahq.org

http://anestesiaclasa.org/

Información: guilherme.am.barros@unesp.br o programmes@wfsahq.org

Duración De La Pasantia: Ocho semanas, se espera que el primer candidato seleccionado comience en agosto de 2020 y el segundo en octubre de 2020.

Candidato requisitos

Requisitos Minimos: Médico especialista en Anestesiología, residente en uno de los países de Latinoamérica, socio activo de Sociedades o Federaciones de Anestesiología afiliadas a la CLASA y en goce de sus derechos. Conocimientos básicos de portugués e inglés son los requisitos deseables.

Proceso de solicitud

La fecha límite para las solicitudes es el 22 de marzo de 2020. Más detalles de la beca aquí.

Por favor complete un formulario de solicitud en línea: https://wfsagrants.awardsplatform.com/

Aplicaciones abiertas: Fellowship en medicina del dolor en Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2020

Entrenamiento y actualización en Manejo del Dolor, conocimientos que luego se podrán transmitir por el becario a sus colegas tras el retorno a su país, con el resultante beneficio en la atención de los pacientes.

Detalles de la beca

La beca cubre los gastos de alojamiento y valor agregado para viáticos durante el periodo establecido de la pasantía.

Duración De La Pasantia: Ocho semanas (Septiembre- Octubre 2020)

Numero de lugares: Dos

Candidato requisitos

Requisitos Minimos: Médico especialista en Anestesiología, residente en uno de los países de Latinoamérica, socio activo de Sociedades o Federaciones de Anestesiología afiliadas a la CLASA y en goce de sus derechos.

Informacion, Aplicación Y Reglamentos Del Programa:
www.wfsahq.org
http://anestesiaclasa.org/

Proceso de solicitud

La fecha límite para las solicitudes es el 22 de Marzo de 2020, más detalles de la beca están aquí.

Por favor complete un formulario de solicitud en línea aqui

Adjuntar los siguientes documentos en español: (La falsificación de los documentos de aplicación o no enviarlos todos al mismo tiempo llevan a exclusión inmediata del proceso de selección)

• Hoja de Vida completa con una foto reciente y dos recomendaciones verificables con número de celular especificando código internacional de país para realizar llamada de verificación
• Carta de afiliación y respaldo de la sociedad de anestesia del país del aspirante
• Carta de recomendación del Jefe directo del hospital donde trabaja
• Diploma de Medico Escaneado
• Diploma de Anestesiólogo Escaneado
• Copia de la página de identificación del pasaporte vigente con foto

Aplicaciones abiertas: Fellowship en Anestesia Regional en Fortaleza, Brasil, 2020

Entrenamiento y actualización en Anestesia Regional, conocimientos que luego podrán ser transmitidos por el becario a sus colegas tras el retorno a su país, con el resultante beneficio en la atención de los pacientes.

Detalles de la beca

La beca cubre los gastos de alojamiento y valor agregado para viáticos durante el periodo establecido de la pasantía. Las condiciones de la beca se ajustan a la reglamentación actualizada del programa que la Confederación tiene a disposición y que se adjunta a esta convocatoria.
Información, Aplicación Y Reglamentos Del Programa:
www.wfsahq.org
http://anestesiaclasa.org/
Información: danidumaresq@terra.com.br o projects2@wfsahq.org

Duración De La Pasantía: Ocho semanas. Se espera que el candidato seleccionado comience en agosto de 2020.

Candidato requisitos

Requisitos Mínimos: Médico especialista en Anestesiología, residente en uno de los países de Latinoamérica, socio activo de Sociedades o Federaciones de Anestesiología afiliadas a la CLASA y en goce de sus derechos.

Proceso de solicitud

La fecha límite para las solicitudes es el 22 de marzo 2020. Más detalles de la beca aquí.

Por favor complete un formulario de solicitud en línea: https://wfsagrants.awardsplatform.com/

 

 

Applications Open: WFSA Pain Anaesthesia Fellowship at Virinchi Hospitals, Hyderabad, India, 2020 – 2021

WFSA are pleased to open applications for two pain management fellowship training positions at Virinchi Hospitals in Hyderabad, India.

Fellowship Details Virinchi Hospitals

The duration of training is 6 months. One fellowship will start on 1st July 2020 and the other will start on the 1st February 2021. The trainees will have an orientation month followed by five months of clinical responsibility.

Applicant Profile 

The fellowship is intended for anaesthesiologists working in low resource settings in Asia or Africa who wish to develop knowledge and skills in the field of pain management.

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 recognised post
• Should preferably be working in a teaching hospital

Fellows will receive a stipend from Virinchi Hospitals to cover accommodation and living expenses.

The WFSA will provide funding to cover the cost of return travel from the fellow's home country to Hyderabad, India.

The successful applicants will be required to register with the Medical Council of India and obtain medical insurance covering the duration of the fellowship.

For more information, please contact the programme head, Dr Muralidhar Joshi (drmuralidharjoshi@gmail.com).

Application Process

The closing date for applications is the 22nd March 2020.

Applicants must complete an online application here and upload all the documents listed:

• 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 photograph page of passport
• Copy of specialist anaesthetic qualification

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend Euroanaesthesia 2020 in Barcelona!

EA20 MYESAMeet with a community of international colleagues, experts in the field of anaesthesiology, and friends from around the world this 30 May – 1 June in Barcelona, Spain.

Euroanaesthesia is one of the world’s largest and most influential scientific congresses for anaesthesia professionals, with a focus on education, knowledge exchange, and innovation in Anaesthesia, Critical Care, Pain and Perioperative Medicine, as well as a platform for global visibility for scientific research.

This international event gathers more than 8.000 participants, including a faculty of more than 400 key opinion leaders from all over the world. The world’s leading experts share their insights, up-to-date knowledge and experience during state-of-the art lectures, interactive sessions, debates, and courses.

By bringing together practicing physicians, academics, scientists, and clinical researchers, Euroanaesthesia offers a unique global forum for a free exchange of science and medical strategy.

Euroanaesthesia is truly an outstanding international platform to enhance knowledge, review innovative techniques, learn on ESA guidelines, and communicate, collaborate and network with representatives of a large international audience.

If you have not registered yet, make sure to sign up before 17 March to get the Early Bird discount and save money on registration. Members of the ESA receive up to a €295 discount on the early bird price! Be sure to start or renew your 2020 ESA membership before you register.

Take your practice to the next level and work towards advancing the field of anaesthesiology, together! Don’t miss the opportunity to share knowledge and best practices, hear about the latest innovations in basic and clinical science, education and quality, and patient safety improvement.

ESA looks forward to seeing you in Barcelona this 30 May – 1 June, 2020.

For more information, please visit the Euroanaesthesia website at euroanaesthesia2020.org or ESA's website at www.esahq.org

If you have any questions, please contact ESA's Communication Manager, Jennifer Rose, at jennifer@esahq.org

Strengthening Anaesthesia Care in The Gambia

PHOTO 2020 01 22 11 57 57Access to safe, affordable anaesthesia and surgery should be a universal right, but in countries like The Gambia, there is a significant shortage of health personnel, which leads to a major obstacle in the provision of surgical and anaesthesia services. With less than one physician per 20,000 inhabitants, The Gambia falls well below the WHO African Region average of nearly five physicians per 20,000 inhabitants. Most notably, 80% of practicing physicians within the country are not Gambian nationals.

Anaesthesia in The Gambia, is primarily delivered by nurses and clinical officers, it is therefore important to ensure appropriate training is delivered in country. Recognising the need to build the capacity of health care providers within the country, WFSA in partnership with THET, visited The Gambia to support activities in November 2019.

Over the two day visit a taster Essential Pain Management (EPM) course was delivered to 39 nurse providers and 4 residents. EPM is a cost-effective, multi-disciplinary programme brings together local health workers to improve pain knowledge. Participants learn how to implement a simple framework for managing pain and address pain management barriers. The course has been designed for any health worker who comes into contact with patients who are experiencing pain.

Dr Omar Cham, Secretary General of Anesthetists’ Society of The Gambia (ASOGAM) said, “The training really lived up to its name, ESSENTIAL, because it covers an area that is somewhat a blind spot for anaesthetists in The Gambia. The blind-spot is created partly due to socio-cultural influences.”

Touching upon the cultural context surrounding pain Omar further added, “In certain cultures in The Gambia, people are expected to bear their pain, sometimes health workers also expect patients to live through some degree of pain. With this course, we are armed with the slogan pain is what the patient says, so we should try to control their pain and alleviate their suffering as much as possible.”

In conjunction with the EPM course, the WFSA also supported ASOGAM to hold their first inaugural congress. The aim of the congress was to provide ASOGAM members with up to date information on relevant scientific issues including anaesthetic management of eclampsia/pre-eclampsia and general anaesthesia for neurosurgery, as well as to discuss ways to increase and upskill the current anaesthesia workforce in The Gambia.

Dr. George Njie, President of ASOGAM said, “The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, due to our patients rising concern about pain management in hospitals. This training gives our members the knowledge to tackle these concerns head on and to at least ease the pain of our patients.”

In low-and middle income countries the rate of death and disability occurring from treatable surgical conditions remains unreasonably high with the delivery of timely and effective medical care hindered by the lack of infrastructure and a shortage of human and physical resources. We hope for the opportunity to conduct further training sessions in The Gambia and work alongside ASOGAM to improve anaesthesia care to patients.

Further resources 

WFSA in the media

 

Fund A Fellow

Ninadini Shrestha Photo 1 small

Help us to transform anaesthesia care in lower income countries

All donations made to Fund a Fellow will go directly towards enabling young leaders in anaesthesia to access these amazing training opportunities and improve outcomes for thousands of patients around the world.

DONATE NOW IN USD

DONATE NOW IN GBP