The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) just launched a new charity to help train more anesthesiologists from low-income countries.
There is a shortage of more than 1 million specialist surgeons, anesthetists and obstetricians, and this number is expected to soar to 2.2 million by 2030, according to a recent report (Lancet 2015;386:569-624). More than 5 billion in the world currently lack access to safe, affordable anesthesia and surgical care, the report found. These numbers show the global need to improve safe anesthesia, which is an “essential component of safe surgical care,” according to the WFSA, which started the “Fund a Fellow” initiative to help combat this shortage.
“30% of the global burden of disease can be treated with greater access to surgical treatment and yet the surgical patient continues to be neglected. The WFSA is committed to closing the gap that exists globally between anaesthesia and surgical care in low and high resource settings, and our number one priority in addressing this crisis is meeting the shortfall in skilled anaesthesiologists,” said Julian Gore-Booth, CEO of WFSA (United Kingdom), in a press release.
The “Fund a Fellow” campaign is the WFSA’s first charitable fundraising drive. The WFSA’s Global Fellowship Programme, which has been providing “low cost, high quality training to anesthesiologists across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America” for the past 20 years, is primarily funded through membership fees.
The goal of the new charity is to raise enough funds to train 500 fellows to provide care to more than 1 million patients by 2020. A donation of $100 per month will help support a fellow’s education, travel and accommodation for a full month, according to the WFSA.
“Supported by leading hospitals and dedicated WFSA volunteers, the WFSA is able to offer fellowships to anesthesiologists from lower-income countries at no cost to themselves. But successful applicants can only access these opportunities if their travel and living costs are supported,” Mr. Gore-Booth said in a press release. “It is essential that we make these opportunities available to anesthesiologists who are already working in the countries that need their expertise the most.”