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Utstein Surgical Metrics Update 2022

International experts reconvene in Norway for stage two of the influential “Metrics and Reporting Criteria for Surgery, Anaesthesia, and Obstetrics Patient Safety” meeting.

WFSA, with support from the Laerdal Foundation, is working with leading international stakeholders and partners to review and strengthen the global health community’s ability to collate, share and utilise global surgery indicators.  

The inaugural Utstein Surgical Metrics Meeting at the Utstein Abbey in Norway in 2019 was the first comprehensive review of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery’s six global surgery indicators.

A consensus reached at the 2019 meeting refined the existing indicators down to five – surgical volume; geospatial access; workforce; perioperative mortality; and catastrophic expenditure.

Following this refinement, five multidisciplinary working groups were formed to compile a practical and easy to use ‘How To’ manual for practitioners and policymakers to collect and share global surgical data.   

The 2022 meeting reviewed these data collection manuals with a particular focus on the basic, intermediate, and full data sets and develop data dictionaries for each metric.

The multidisciplinary approach adopted by this initiative brought together stakeholders from across the global health community including academia, civil society, the health-data specialists and multilateral organisations including the World Bank and the World Health Organisation.

Alongside plenary discussions and specialist breakout sessions on the five surgical indicators, the meeting sought to define the variable components of each metric, sampling methodologies, and data sources for the metrics. A key focus of the meeting was how best to support countries to efficiently collect the correct health data.

Next steps for surgical metrics

In 2023, the How to Guides and data collection tools will be piloted in two countries at the hospital level. Regional engagement exercises will take place to further inform the development of the data collection manual and its application.

Following the pilot phase, the indicators and manual will be integrated into national and regional data collection processes. With the support of key stakeholders including the World Bank, the World Health Organisation and other UN bodies, the initiative will facilitate and advocate for the use of these important new data collection tools at national, regional, and global levels,

These updated indicator definitions applied at the international and national levels will facilitate progress towards advocating for and achieving timely access to safe, affordable care, setting evidence-based targets, and improving political priorities for global surgery and anaesthesia.

Words – Amelia Crowther

Photos – Kristine Stave