HRH the Duke of York has joined with Dr Iain Wilson (Royal Devon and
Exeter NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr Isabeau Walker (Great Ormond Street
Hospital, London) to highlight the lack of anaesthesia in the developing
The journal Anaesthesia issued the following release
is in crisis in the developing world because of lack of investment in
trained personnel, drugs and equipment, according to His Royal Highness
The Duke of York, Patron of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great
Britain and Ireland.
In the foreword to a special supplement on
anaesthesia in the developing world, published by Anaesthesia, The Duke
of York says that this situation is in stark contrast to the UK where
patients undergoing surgery “receive a first-class anaesthesia service
from highly trained and motivated physician anaesthetists.”
points out that anaesthesia has fallen behind other medical specialities
in the developing world and that this has had a major impact on mother
and child deaths and on overall health care.
anaesthesia, relief from pain and safe childbirth should be universal
human rights, but these aims cannot be achieved without considerable
commitment from anaesthetists everywhere” stresses The Duke of York.
has urged anaesthetists worldwide to “spend time thinking about how
they might be able to influence the improvement of anaesthesia services
for patients in the developing world.”
The Duke of York maintains
that investment in anaesthesia is essential in striving towards the
Millennium Development Goals of the World Health Organization – “without
it, these far–sighted aims may be largely unachievable” he says.
live in a global village” adds Anaesthesia Editor Dr David Bogod,
Consultant Anaesthetist at Nottingham City Hospital.
editorial, co-written with Dr Iain Wilson (Royal Devon and Exeter NHS
Foundation Trust) and Dr Isabeau Walker (Great Ormond Street Hospital,
London) he says that: “The knowledge that our colleagues struggle in
such basic situations should encourage us to support the development of
our specialty worldwide”.
Anaesthetists have a low status in many developing countries, says the editorial.
of medical staff is partly to blame, leaving few models to encourage
the development of the specialty and subsequently very low numbers of
medical graduates entering anaesthesia training.
in many countries is a technician-based specialty with poor image, low
wages, inadequate equipment and conditions that limit professional
The consequences for patients are also very serious, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
recent study published in Anaesthesia showed that in Uganda there were
only sufficient supplies to carry out six per cent of caesareans and 13
per cent of child surgery with safe anaesthesia.
Elsewhere in the
developing world, mothers have a one in 16 chance of dying in childbirth
and an even higher chance of their baby dying or being injured during
Even in India, a country with high physician rates and
some first rate services, lack of anaesthesia in rural areas is a major
contributing factor to high maternal mortality rates.
needed, not just at a personal level but at institutional, national and
international levels” according to Drs Bogod, Wilson and Walker.
“Overseas development agencies need to recognise the place of anaesthesia in patient care.”
supplement has been produced as part of an international initiative by
the Council of Science Editors to draw attention to the global issues of
poverty and human development.
“I was delighted to write the
foreword for this very important supplement and hope that it will
highlight the need for international action to tackle this essential
area of healthcare in developing countries” says The Duke of York.
Free online access to all the articles in this special Anaesthesia supplement is available at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/ana/62/s1
A copy of the foreword and editorial is attached
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