With less than two doctors per 1000 people, access to safe anaesthesia and surgery services in Palestine is extremely limited. This access is made all the more difficult by the severe restrictions on travel that reduce the mobility of medical providers and patients alike.
One solution this to crisis of health care provision is through localised, in-country training programmes that build the skills and numbers of anaesthesia providers. In response to these unique challenges, the Palestine Anaesthesia Teaching Mission (PATM) was established in 2009 by the Canadian Anaesthesiologists’ Society International Education Fund and WFSA, to provide in-country educational training to facilitate the professional development of anaesthesia providers in Palestine.
Through this programme, expert volunteers are recruited from anaesthesia departments in higher-income countries to spend up to one month at a time teaching trainees in the classroom and the operating room.
Teaching programmes have been implemented in four hospitals across the West Bank to provide in-country anaesthesia training. To date, a total of 12 anaesthesiologists from six different countries have volunteered in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Dr Moiz Alibhai, who volunteered for the programme in 2017 said, “I found my month as part of the PATM to be rewarding…our colleagues [in Palestine] have a more intense workload than we have in the UK, with a much higher emergency and trauma caseload.”
“They have very few opportunities to attend regional meetings and courses, thus I promoted WFSA’s website and it’s free to access learning resources and virtual library to all our Palestinian colleagues.”
Since 2014, the programme has partnered with the International Medical Education Trust, to provide funding and logistical support for our volunteers in the West Bank. In the future, WFSA hopes to establish a formal anaesthesia training programme in Palestine run by Palestinian anaesthesiologists in addition to running short Safer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE) and Essential Pain Management (EPM) courses.
With over 5 billion people around the world without access to safe anaesthesia care, WFSA hopes to continue developing the capacity of anaesthesia providers everywhere to provide access to safer anaesthesia for all.