Canadian Anesthesiologists assisting colleagues in Rwanda to reduce the number of maternal deaths caused by unsafe anesthesia.
TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - Dr Patricia Houston, president of the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society (CAS), is pleased that over S50,000 was raised in donations from Society members to purchase 250 pulse oximeters for Rwanda, enough to provide this environment-appropriate vital equipment to every operating room in the country.
Pulse oximetry monitoring is essential for making operations, such as cesarean sections, safer, but more than 70,000 operating rooms worldwide lack access to an oximeter. The 250 Canadian-donated pulse oximeters from the surgical safety charity Lifebox, are being distributed alongside an education program in a move that will improve the quality of anesthesia care available to all patients in Rwanda.
A number of oximeters were distributed to anesthesia technicians at a conference in Rwamagana, Rwanda, on Friday. Dr Jeanne d'Arc Uwambazimana, president of the Rwanda Society of Anesthesiologists (RSA), welcomed the oximeters and congratulated the first graduating class of the SAFE Obstetric Anaesthesia Course, a new education initiative that will make childbirth safer for mothers in Rwanda.
"Anesthetic care for women undergoing caesarean section is particularly challenging at district hospital level," Dr Uwambazimana explained at a press conference held on Friday night in Rwamagana to celebrate anaesthesia in Rwanda.
"You can see that indicators for maternal-child outcomes in anesthesia have continued to improve over the last few years, but recent studies show that the need for ongoing education is crucial. This is what the SAFE course will help us to achieve."1
Dr Uwambazimana also welcomed the donation of two Universal Anaesthesia Machines (UAM), designed to function under any hospital conditions. This donation was made by Gradian Health Systems, the non-profit organization that manufactures and distributes the machines.
Cesarean sections are the most common major surgical procedure in sub-Saharan Africa2 - but when anesthesia providers lack continued training and appropriate equipment in their hospitals, the likelihood of maternal death on the operating table is high.3
The SAFE course improves the ability of anesthesia providers to manage an obstetric emergency and develops capacity for teamwork in the operating theatre.
More than 120 anesthesia technicians from 19 District Hospitals around the country will be trained in Rwamagana before the end of the month, as part of an intensive course led by faculty from the National University of Rwanda (NUR), the Kigali Health Institute (KHI) the RSA and the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society International Education Foundation (CAS IEF).
"Safe surgery is crucial for improving our maternal mortality rate, and safe surgery is impossible without safe anesthesia," explained Dr Angela Enright, past president of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA).
"The CASIEF is committed to supporting anesthesia education in Rwanda in a variety of ways - especially its involvement with training in the residency program but also in supporting courses and initiatives like these. "
The SAFE course was supported by the Rwanda Ministry of Health, the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society International Education Foundation (CAS IEF), the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA), Gradian Health Systems, Smile Train and the CIDA Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Project.
1 Ruhato, Twagirumugabe, & Sami, 2012
2 Fenton, Whitty, & Reynolds, 2003
3 Dyer, Reed, & James, 2010
About the Rwanda Society of Anesthesiologists (RSA)
The RSA is the professional organization for all medical anesthesiologists in Rwanda. It was recently recognized by the government as an official organization, with an important role to play in the ongoing improvement of Rwandan healthcare.
About the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society International Education Foundation (CAS IEF) - www.cas.ca
CAS IEF works to assist anesthesia educators in developing their own self-sustaining training programs, with the aim of making anesthesia available to people living in developing countries. CAS IEF has longstanding links with the Rwandan anesthesia community.
CAS is a leading member of the Lifebox Foundation's 'Make It 0' campaign to put pulse oximeters and education materials into operating theatres worldwide.
About the Lifebox Foundation - www.lifebox.org
Lifebox is a global health charity working to improve the quality and safety of surgical care worldwide. Lifebox provides pulse oximeters to operating theatres around the world currently performing surgery without this essential piece of monitoring equipment. They provide education in the World Health Organization's Surgical Safety Checklist, which has been shown to reduce surgical complications and death by more than one third.
About the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) - http://www.anaesthesiologists.org/
The aim of the WFSA is to promote equality in the provision of anesthesia services around the world.
About the Kigali Health Institute - http://www.khi.ac.rw/
KHI works to transform the health sector through developing professionals in the field of health, strengthening national referral hospitals, treatment and research centers.
It provides training, research, consultancy services, and outreach activities that respond to the healthcare challenges Rwanda is facing.
About Gradian Health Systems - www.gradianhealth.org
Gradian Health Systems equips hospitals to deliver anesthesia safely and economically by providing technology, service and training. Gradian designs and builds equipment used worldwide in hospitals ranging from world-renown academic centers to resource-constrained district facilities. Gradian is a social enterprise collaborating with partners in clinical medicine, national health systems, medical technology and philanthropy.
About Smile Train - www.smiletrain.org
Smile Train is the world's largest cleft charity with over 2,600 partner surgeons operating in over 1,100 partner hospitals, and has helped children in over 80 countries by providing free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery.
About CIDA Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Project - http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/
Improving the health of mothers, newborns and children and reducing the number of preventable deaths are top priorities for CIDA. Each year hundreds of thousands of women die during pregnancy or childbirth and 6.9 million children die before reaching the age of five. Many of these deaths can be prevented by proven, cost-effective, evidence-based interventions.
SOURCE: Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society
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