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Our Three Guiding Pillars

The WFSA has developed three pillars that guide the organisation’s advocacy work in order to achieve its overall mission to improve patient care, and access to safe anaesthesia by uniting anaesthesiologists around the world: Workforce, Universal Health Coverage, and Safety. 


The WFSA Global Workforce Map shows data for countries representing more than 7 billion people, highlights the huge shortage in anaesthesia workforce worldwide and also highlights the gap between the rich and poor. Using current population data, over 136,000 additional physician anaesthesia providers are needed immediately to achieve a minimum density of 5 per 100,000 population in all countries, highlighting the current crisis in surgical and anaesthesia workforce density.

Global Anaesthesia Workforce Map Embargo tbc
The WFSA conducted a global workforce survey during 2015-2016, sending member societies a list of information required and a link to an online survey, as well as collecting information from anaesthesiologists during international conferences and contacting anaesthesia providers working in non-WFSA-member countries.

To read the article click here, and to view the WFSA Global Workforce Map please click here.


Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

UHC imageThe WFSA Global Position Statement on Anaesthesiology and Universal Health Coverage was approved by the General Assembly in 2017. This provides guidance around the current anaesthesia and surgical crisis within the global health policy agenda that seeks to achieve UHC.

The WFSA position statement highlights the need for WFSA and anaesthesiologist leadership in addressing the human resource crisis in anaesthesia, as well as acknowledging the important role of non-physician providers in some contexts and in relation to the goal of Universal Health Coverage by 2030.


Safe Anaesthesia

Scaling-up anaesthesia resources will not improve patient outcomes alone. It is essential that safe practices are followed internationally to ensure the best possible care which is why safety remains at the heart of our advocacy efforts.

The WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anaesthesia were first published in June 1992. These have been revised periodically and the latest version (May 2018) is, for the first time, published jointly with the World Health Organisation. The standards are particularly needed in areas with complicated realities, where a commitment to safety in anaesthesia is absolutely essential in order to improve access to safe surgery, to save lives and to strengthen health systems. To find out more about the Standards and view the accompanying checklist in several languages please click here.

Read our fact sheets

SAFE-T or "Safe Anaesthesia for Everybody - Today" is our campaign for improved access to safe anaesthesia around the world. Be informed about anaesthesia & global health.

Anaesthesia & Surgery - The Global Crisis

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The Cost-Effectiveness of Anaesthesia & Surgery

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The Roles of the Anaesthesiologist

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The WFSA is a member of the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care (G4A), an advocacy-based organisation dedicated to building political priority for surgical care as part of the global development agenda.

Watch the G4A launch video and show your support for the neglected surgical patient.