UK parliamentary group convenes experts to discuss global anaesthesia
Leading anaesthesia experts from around the globe convened for a special meeting of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health to mark World Anaesthesia Day on 16 October.
With the title of ‘Safer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE) – How to reach the missing 5 billion’ the meeting brought together policy makers and practitioners to discuss the role of anaesthesia in meeting global health targets. It also sought to highlight the impact of in-country training programmes such as SAFE in improving patient access to vital health services.
|Click on image to access a recording of the APPG meeting|
The meeting was a collaboration between the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, WFSA and the Association of Anaesthetists of UK and Ireland.
Speakers included practicing anaesthesiologists from Norway, Uganda, the United Kingdom and Zambia as well as programme and policy makers from WHO –AFRO, Zambia and Tanzania.
With over 850 registrants drawn from 44 countries, the meeting was chaired by Lord Crisp the former Chief Executive of the UK National Health Service and chair of the APPG on Global health. He outlined to objectives of the meeting as an opportunity “to identify ways to support and create an enabling environment for a functioning health system through the strengthening of anaesthesia and surgery provision. ‘
‘This [meeting] is especially relevant in light of the considerable efforts and sacrifices that anaesthesiologists and other health professionals have made in the response to the COVID pandemic. ‘
Lord Crisp continued by highlighting the importance of access to anaesthesia:
‘Despite nearly 170 years having passed since the first anaesthetic procedure and the necessity of it for effective surgery, research from the The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery found that more than 5 billion people are without access to safe and affordable surgical care when needed.’
‘Additionally more than 30% of the Global Burden of Disease stems from conditions that could be treated through surgical intervention.’
‘The difficulty of accessing services and the anaesthesia workforce crisis are all important factors that will be covered in this meeting’
As a means to address the anaesthesia workforce needs-gap, WFSA and the Association developed the SAFE training programme. It is designed to equip obstetric and paediatric anaesthesia providers with the essential knowledge and skills to deliver safe care to their patients, even in very low resource settings. Since its launch in 2007, this anaesthesiologist-led SAFE training programme has provided practical in-country training to over 4,000 physician and non-physician providers in 45 countries.
The meeting focused on SAFE as part of a holistic approach to strengthening anaesthesia provision in low-resource settings. This integrated approach includes supportive regional and national policy environments like those provided by WHO-AFRO and by countries such as Zambia; the availability of local medical training colleagues such as the College of Anaesthesiologists to the East Central and Southern Africa (CANECSA); and the provision of anaesthesiologists-led continued professional development programmes such as the SAFE obstetric and paediatric skills courses.