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WFSA Leads Global campaign against imposing international restrictions on ketamine

Ketamine collageThis week the WFSA launched a social media campaign and Ketamine Campaign Resource Hub to raise awareness about the threat to ketamine and to allow anaesthesiologists and medical staff around the world to voice their opposition.

On 9th-11th December 2015 the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will meet in Vienna to discuss changes to the scope of control of substances and whether or not ketamine should be restricted internationally. This push for policy change stems from the illicit production and abuse of ketamine in China.

However, ketamine plays a very big role in anaesthesia and global health around the world. When performing surgery in many parts of the world, there is no choice: ketamine is often the only aesthetic at hand and by far the most commonly used. Unlike other anaesthetics, ketamine does not require a reliable electricity supply, oxygen, highly trained staff, or monitoring systems to administer. That makes it the only safe form of anaesthesia in many poorly resourced hospitals and medical centres and in conflict and disaster areas.

In a recent survey of 22 low and middle income countries, ketamine was found to be more widely available than basic surgical equipment and infrastructure, including oxygen, running water and electricity, and more widely used than any other anaesthetic agent. Scheduling ketamine would make it much harder, if not impossible, for many hospitals and medical facilities to access ketamine – specifically those medical facilities already poorly resourced.

However, many people outside of the medical profession do not know the role that ketamine plays.

That is why it is so important to join the campaign. The more voices explaining the importance of ketamine, the stronger case we can make against scheduling it.
Anaesthesiologists around the world are united in what they do and the impact they have on patients, families and communities. On the week of Tuesday 1st December 2015 we ask that you share how important ketamine and global heath is to you by printing out this banner, posting on social media your location and #KetamineIsMedicine. Tag us @WFSAorg on Twitter and @WFSA - World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists on Facebook.

For more information on the issue, the campaign, and how you can get involved, please click here.

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