Access to safe, affordable anaesthesia and surgery should be a universal right, but in countries like The Gambia, there is a significant shortage of health personnel, which leads to a major obstacle in the provision of surgical and anaesthesia services. With less than one physician per 20,000 inhabitants, The Gambia falls well below the WHO African Region average of nearly five physicians per 20,000 inhabitants. Most notably, 80% of practicing physicians within the country are not Gambian nationals.
With less than 50 physician-level anaesthesiologists to cover a population of over 58 million Tanzania, like many countries, has a severe shortage of trained anaesthesia providers. This is especially evident when seen in the light of the WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia which highly-recommends a minimum of 5 anaesthesia providers per 100,000 people. Tanzania makes up for this shortfall through the use of non-physician anaesthesia providers to deliver the majority of anaesthesia provision.