WFSA with the WHO in order to protect and support anaesthesiologists and health workers in Africa in COVID-19 response

Protecting and supporting health workers and anaesthesiologists is central to Africa COVID-19 response. The WHO and the WFSA are partnering in order to provide the most support as possible.

Is important to access to safe anaesthesia. The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) reports that this is part of a well-functioning health system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, anaesthesiologists have played a pivotal frontline and leadership role in emergency departments, operating rooms, and intensive care units (ICUs) saving patients’ lives across the world, especially in Africa.

The collaboration of WHO and WFSA to improve health in Africa to face COVID-19 with anaesthesiologists

But, no health system can work without a sufficient number of healthy and skilled 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.

“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 have been critical to continuing to provide services in the face of the inconsistent or prohibitively expensive oxygen supplies that many countries are faced with.”, WFSA declared.

Together with other health workers, anaesthesiologists are the most important resource in hospitals. Not only in the fight against COVID-19 but also the other essential care that hospitals and health centres provide. In addition to this, since the pandemic is dangerous and not to be underestimated, they all must be protected, supported and have the resources they need to do their jobs protecting populations.

A specialized workforce of anaesthesiologists in Africa to support COVID-19 response

The WFSA continues reporting “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 has 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 the 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.”

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