World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Global action on patient safety

5 billion people are unable to access safe, timely affordable surgery and anaesthesia. This leads to 18.6 million preventable early deaths each year. In the world’s poorest countries, 9 out of 10 anaesthesia departments do not have the equipment to provide a safe anaesthetic for a child.
Anaesthesiologists have a particular focus on the safety of perioperative care and the impact on patient outcomes. In May 2018 the WHO and the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) published the International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia, providing guidance and assistance to anaesthesia providers, their professional organizations, hospital and facility administrators, and governments for maintaining and improving the quality and safety of anaesthesia care. As a leader in promoting patient safety and perioperative care, the WFSA would like to draw the attention of member states to these International Standards, which highlight what is required to provide safe anaesthesia and perioperative care for patients worldwide. With anaesthesia-related mortality up to 1,000 times higher in some of the world’s poorest countries when compared to some of its richest, it is clear that safe anaesthesia is indeed a life and death issue.
The WFSA welcomes a report from the Director-General outlining the global efforts made to date in support of patient safety, and emphasises how access to safe surgery and anaesthesia is essential for reducing deaths and disability due to surgical disease worldwide.
International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia: