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Statement on Universal Health Coverage for WHA73

In line with WFSA’s position as a non-State actor in official relations with WHO, the WFSA board have submitted the following statement under the 73rd World Health Assembly Agenda item 11.2 Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues.

 Statement to be delivered by Professor Adrian Gelb, President, World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA).

Agenda Item 11.2: Universal health coverage: moving together to build a healthier world.

Anaesthesia and surgical care are central to a well-functioning health system, therefore essential if we are to realize UHC. This is highlighted by WHA Resolution: 68.15.

The indispensability of anaesthesiologists has been made even more apparent by their prominent and critical care role in the global response to COVID-19. And yet 5 out of 7 billion people still do not have access to safe, affordable and quality anaesthesia and surgical care.

To realise UHC WFSA believe that three areas require specific attention:

1.       Workforce. Many countries suffer from very low numbers of trained anaesthesia providers. A coordinated response is required to increase anesthesia workforce capacity.

2.       Standards. The WFSA recommends the adoption of WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anaesthesia, which provide a framework for safe and quality anaesthesia care.

3.       Planning. The WFSA supports the development of National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAPs). It is vital that anaesthesiologists are active participants in the development of these plans.