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World Anaesthesia Day

Every year on 16 October, WFSA supports anaesthesia providers the world over to celebrate their profession and have a bit of fun whilst doing it.

World Anaesthesia Day commemorates the birth of anaesthesia on 16 October 1846. When doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated the use of ether for the first time on a patient. In doing so they changed surgery forever, proving it was possible for patients to undergo surgery without the torture of pain previously associated with it.

Despite nearly 170 years having passed since that first anaesthetic procedure and the countless breakthroughs that have succeeded it, nearly 5 billion people continue to lack access to safe anaesthesia practices.

In the light of this on-going neglect, global awareness days like World Anaesthesia Day can be a powerful advocacy tool to mobilise political will, educate the general public and inforce achievements of the global anaesthesia community.

Each year for World Anaesthesia Day WFSA focus on a different aspect of anaesthesia care. This helps us to explain the varied, diverse and critical roles that anaesthesiologists play in patient wellbeing.

2024 Workforce Well-being

This year workforce well-being has been chosen as the theme for World Anaesthesia Day, fitting in with the WFSA Annual Theme. More information on the theme is here.

2023 Anaesthesia & Cancer Care

In line with our 2023 Annual Theme, World Anaesthesia Day 2023 was focused on anaesthesia and cancer care. More information here. Celebrations included a special webinar with global oncoanaesthesia experts.

2021 – Teamwork

To mark the Year of Health and Care Workers 2021, WFSA’s decided to use World Anaesthesia Day 2021 to celebrate teamwork and the skills and attributes of those who we work alongside and rely on.

Teamwork is a vital component of an anaesthesiologist’s everyday work. Without it, clinicians are not able to provide the necessary level of patient care and safety to which they aspire.

With the hashtags #WAD2021 and #TeamAnaesthesia, social media platforms filled with anaesthesia professionals sharing photos of their colleagues and celebrating the attributes that these teams bring to making safe patient care possible.

Find out more about WAD2021

2020 – Occupational Wellbeing of Anaesthesiologists

In 2020, WFSA initiated a campaign that focused on the importance of Occupational wellbeing.

Anaesthesiologists experience high levels of occupational fatigue, burnout syndrome, chemical dependency, mental depression, suicidal ideation and more. There is a link between occupational health and patient safety, with occupational fatigue being one of the main factors in a high prevalence of crises.

WFSA worked with the member societies and the wider global anaesthesia community to create a conversation around occupational wellbeing.

A campaign tools including videos, flyers and a toolkit were developed and disseminated to support anaesthesia providers to for this highly successful campaign.

2019 – Resuscitation

WFSA asks colleagues to share their support for WAD through social media.

On World Anaesthesia Day in 2019 WFSA partnered with the World Restart a Heart Day movement led by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and the European Resuscitation Council. Under a general theme of ‘Resuscitation’, colleagues around the world were encouraged to use the day to highlight the indispensable role of anaesthesiologists in providing safe and effective resuscitation.