Anaesthesia is in crisis in the developing world because of lack of investment in trained personnel, drugs and equipment, according to His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Patron of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland.
In the foreword to a special supplement on anaesthesia in the developing world, published by Anaesthesia, The Duke of York says that this situation is in stark contrast to the UK where patients undergoing surgery receive a first-class anaesthesia service from highly trained and motivated physician anaesthetists.
He points out that anaesthesia has fallen behind other medical specialities in the developing world and that this has had a major impact on mother and child deaths and on overall health care.
Effective, reliable anaesthesia, relief from pain and safe childbirth should be universal human rights, but these aims cannot be achieved without considerable commitment from anaesthetists everywhere stresses The Duke of York.
He has urged anaesthetists worldwide to spend time thinking about how they might be able to influence the improvement of anaesthesia services for patients in the developing world.
The Duke of York maintains that investment in anaesthesia is essential in striving towards the Millennium Development Goals of the World Health Organization without it, these farsighted aims may be largely unachievable he says.
Anaesthetists live in a global village adds Anaesthesia Editor Dr David Bogod, Consultant Anaesthetist at Nottingham City Hospital.
In an editorial, co-written with Dr Iain Wilson (Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr Isabeau Walker (Great Ormond Street Hospital, London) he says that: The knowledge that our colleagues struggle in such basic situations should encourage us to support the development of our specialty worldwide.
Anaesthetists have a low status in many developing countries, says the editorial.
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