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This #MemberMonday, we’ll hear from: Julian Gore-Booth, CEO of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA)

When did you begin?

In 1955 the first World Congress of Anaesthesiologists was held at Scheveningen in the Netherlands and at the end of the Congress the WFSA was formed. At this Congress, only 26 societies were represented, with another 16 Societies observing. Since then, the WFSA has grown to 135 Member Societies from 145 countries around the world.

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Our vision is universal access to safe anaesthesia, and our mission is to unite anaesthesiologists around the world to improve patient care and access to safe anaesthesia and perioperative medicine.

Areas Where You Work:
As a global Federation, WFSA Member Societies are from all parts of the globe. Our many projects are also run around the world, such as SAFE (Safer Anaesthesia From Education) Courses, which have taken place in many countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, and our Fellowships programmes based in Latin America, USA, Africa and the Middle East, South Asia and Europe.

Our Scholarships programmes, which allows anaesthesiologists from low resource countries to attend WFSA Regional Congresses, are also global with scholars traveling from around the world to Copenhagen, Dubai, San Francisco, Beijing and Yamoussoukro in 2018.

In short, the WFSA works globally and locally to improve patient care and access to safe anaesthesia and perioperative medicine.

How Are You Changing Lives?
Through our many projects, educational materials, and training programmes, the WFSA is helping to scale-up the knowledge of the current anaesthesia workforce, which in turn improves access to safe anaesthesia.

How Many Lives Are You Changing?
It is difficult to quantify exactly how many lives the WFSA is helping to change through our programmes, advocacy work, and our educational materials, although we are able to estimate the ‘multiplying factor’ of some of our programmes. For example, through our Fellowship Training Programme, one trained fellow will usually treat at least 500 patients every year, and about 15,000 patients over the course of a 30-year career. We offer 50 fellowships each year and 50 fellows will treat 750,000 patients over their career, showing how strengthening the knowledge and competencies of the anaesthesia workforce ultimately benefits millions of patients. Similarly, since the first SAFE Course in 2011, some 4,000 individuals, mostly anaesthesia providers but also midwives, obstetricians and other team members, have received training in delivering vigilant, competent, and safe obstetric or paediatric anaesthesia. These providers will typically treat at least 2 million patients every year.

What is One Thing You Want People To Know About Your Organization?
Not so much about the WFSA per se but about the simple fact that you cannot have safe surgery without safe anaesthesia. Everybody on the surgical team, be they a nurse, a technician, a surgeon or an anaesthesia provider should strive for and promote the same WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anaesthesia

What Exciting Plans Do You Have for 2019 – and beyond?
We will continue our focus on educating and training anaesthesia providers working in LMICs as well as advocating for the neglected surgical patient. This year sees us deepening our engagement in Cambodia and Laos as part of Safe Surgery 2020 and also scaling up activity in India and Tanzania.

One of the most exciting events we have planned for 2019 is the SAFE-T Summit in London on 5th April, co-hosted with the Royal Society of Medicine. Bringing together leaders from within and outside the perioperative team we will highlight the importance of global equity, and teamwork in anaesthesia and surgical care, with a focus on perioperative safety through equity, ethics, gender, diversity and social strategies. Keynote speaker for the SAFE-T Summit is Edna Adan Ismail, described as one of the most influential women in Africa today. Other speakers include WFSA President Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, President of The International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists Mrs Jackie Rowles, and President of the European Society of Anaesthesiology Professor Stefan De Hert among many others. You can find out more about this event here:

We are also working together with the Laerdal Foundation, a number of G4 Alliance and other partners to follow up on and help to further refine the Lancet Commission’s 6 Global Surgical Indicators. World experts on the indicators will gather in Utstein Abbey, Stavanger, Norway to look at the availability, comparability and utility of the 6 indicators and recommend ways to build momentum behind data collection and the drive for change.