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WFSA statement at the 72nd WHO Regional Committee of the Western Pacific

Strengthening the region’s anaesthesia workforce through national policies which address chronic underinvestment and professional wellbeing is vital to enable an effective response to COVID-19 and beyond.

Agenda Item 10: COVID-19

The statement made was by Dr Wayne Morriss President-elect of WFSA.

The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) commends WHO’s efforts in the Western Pacific Region to support Member States to:

  • Manage COVID-19 patients;
  • Continue other essential services.

Throughout the region, anaesthesiologists have been playing a vital role in the management of COVID-19 patients in emergency rooms, operating theatres and intensive care units. At the same time, they are continuing to provide emergency and essential care for non-COVID patients.

In some countries, there has been historical under-investment in anaesthesia services and anaesthesiologists are being asked to do more and more, despite a lack of resourcing. This increased workload is having a negative effect on well-being, resulting in increased clinician burnout and reduced quality of care.

WFSA call on Member States in the Western Pacific Region to address three specific areas:

  1. Workforce: Many countries in the region have very low numbers of trained anaesthesia professionals. Workforce deficiencies should be addressed through the provision of appropriate training.
  2. Resourcing: WFSA supports the development of National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans (NSOAPs) and calls on Member States to embed adequate resourcing of anaesthesia in national health plans. 
  3. Professional well-being: To reduce clinician burnout, we call on Member States to prioritise well-being initiatives.