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WFSA statement on Workforce Strengthening for 74th World Health Assembly

The WFSA board have presented the following statement on strengthening the health workforce at the 74th World Health Assembly.

WFSA is a Non-State Actor in official relations with WHO. The statement was presented orally by Prof. Christina Lundgren-Steele on 28 May 2021.

Agenda Item 15: Working for health: five-year action plan for health employment and inclusive economic growth (2017–2021)

The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) welcomes the Working for Health report but remains concerned about chronic shortages in the anaesthesia workforce worldwide.

WFSA’s Global Anaesthesia Workforce Survey, collating data from over 150 countries, indicates that more than 136,000 additional physician anaesthesia providers are needed to achieve a minimum density of 4 per 100,000 population in all countries. This is itself an interim target of the workforce density as recommended by the WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anaesthesia.

Universal Health Coverage will only be possible if anaesthesia workforce shortages are addressed.
WFSA urges WHO and its member states to:

  • Address country-specific chronic anaesthesia workforce deficiencies through training and education.
  • Continue to collaborate with WFSA on tracking and publication of the anaesthesia workforce data.
  • Prioritise the development and implementation of National Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthesia Plans.