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UHC and improved patient care through safe anesthesia – 71st PAHO Summit


Why improving access to SAFE surgery and anaesthesia is vital to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGS) and improving patient care was at the core of statements and recommendations made by WFSA at the 71 st Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Summit.

Held from 30 Sept – 4 October, in Washington DC, the PAHO brought together ministries of health and health care leaders from 49 member states to discuss approaches and priorities to strengthening health care within the Pan-American region.

WFSA presented two statements to the main plenary which built on WFSA’s wider work of uniting anesthesiologists worldwide to improve access to quality anaesthesia and perioperative services to as a means of improving patient care and ultimately realising the SDGs.

Statement 4.8: Strategy and Plan of Action on Health Promotion within the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals 2019-2030

Presented Dr Mauricio Vasco, Chair of WFSA Obstetric Anesthesia Committee, Statement 4.8 highlighted the vital role that access to safe anaesthesia and surgery plays in achieving the SDG goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This is evidenced by the unanimous adoption of World Health Assembly Resolution 68.15: Strengthening emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a component of universal health coverage.

The statement called on the PAHO committee to ensure safe anaesthesia and surgery were including in the SDGs discourse. Additionally it called on member states to promote National surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAPS) as part of their Health Promotion Strategies and plans of action.

Download Statement 4.8

4.10 Strategy and Plan of Action to Improve Quality of Care in Health Service Delivery 2020-2025

Presented by Dr Carolina Haylock Loor, a WFSA Council Member representative of Latin America, Statement 4.10 emphasized anaesthesiologist’s expertise in quality of care, safety of perioperative care and the impact on patient outcomes. Anaesthesiologists have a key role to play in designing and delivering plans of action that focus and improve on the quality of care provision within health systems. This was evidenced in May 2018 by the publication of the WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anaesthesia was published, providing guidance and for maintaining and improving the quality and safety of anaesthesia care.

The statement called on the members to include safe anaesthesia and safe surgery in the patient safety discourse through the promotion of the WHO-WFSA international standards and continue PAHOs commitment to WHA Resolution 68.15.

Download Statement 4.10