5 billion people lack access to anaesthesia, surgical care — Expert

The President-Elect, World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, Dr. Wayne Morriss says 5 billion out of the world’s 7 billion population have no access to safe, affordable anaesthesia and surgical care. He maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make the situation worse but tasked anaesthetics worldwide to work together to improve access to patients. Dr. Morriss disclosed this in his virtual address during the 28th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Society of Anaesthetists, held in collaboration with the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists. The conference held virtually at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and had as theme: “The Anaesthesiologist in Contemporary times”. His words: “Anaesthesiologists around the world have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 saving lives in emergency rooms, intensive care units and operating theatres.

“No country is immune from the ravages of the virus and the contribution of Anaesthesiologists to the different parts of the health system is more evident now than ever before. “We know that, globally, 5 billion out of the world’s 7 billion population do not have access to safe, affordable anaesthesia and surgical care. “The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make this situation worse and we must continue to work together to improve access to safe anaesthesia for our patients”, Dr. Morriss said. In his address, the host of the event and Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Professor Ikpeme Asanye Ikpeme commended the Nigeria Society of Anaesthetics, NSA for the event saying it will go a long way in moving the practice forward. He said : “It is our expectation that this year’s virtual conference will create a forum for participants to holistically appraise, deliberate and critically look at the challenges anaesthesiologists grapple with in contemporary times,

“Considering the era of COVID-19 pandemic with attendant uncertainties in patient management; and especially the explosion of demands and persistent growth in the activity of anaesthesia”, Professor Ikpeme said. In her welcome address, Professor Elizabeth Ogboli Nwasor, President of the NSA said the job of anaesthetists is critical particularly during this pandemic but members have the drive and commitment to give their best She said the theme is very apt and on point as it aims to explore the peculiarities of our times adding that over 20 scientific papers will be presented as they strive to add value to the practice. “This year, our robust scientific session will focus on an unbeatable collection of scholarly works from all fields of anaesthesia, pain management and critical care medicine with the presentation of 20 scientific papers by leaders in anaesthesiology and intensive care. “This was done in our common drive to define the practice of anaesthesia and continue in the paths of our teachers and mentors who have left us with the strong message to work diligently and add value t patient safety and advance the cause of pain relief and care of the patient before, during and after surgery”, Professor Nwasor said.

Also speaking, Chairperson of the Virtual Organising Committee, Dr. Queeneth Kalu said the conference is the first virtual conference in the history of the NSA. She said a record breaking 350 delegates signed on for the conference, and over 34 scientific papers and 19 lectures on cutting-edge topics in the anaesthesia world will be delivered by carefully selected local and international faculties in real time. In addition, Dr. Kalu said during the 28th Annual General Meeting, burning issues affecting the Association will be discussed and virtual elections that will usher in a new set of NSA EXCO shall be held.

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