With more than 50,000 members, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is one of the largest independent anesthesia organisations in the world. Lifebox is thrilled to be working with their Global Humanitarian Outreach (GHO) committee to make anaesthesia and surgery safer for everyone.
We’ve got a five-year challenge to deliver oximeters and training to hospitals in Latin America, working with local communities for long-term change. Click to read updates from the first projects in Nicaragua and Guatemala – and read on for more Lifebox Journeys from ASA past president and Lifebox USA trustee Dr Alexander Hannenberg, who joined the latest project in the Dominican Republic…
Date: Thursday, May 29th 2014
Re: LATIN LEADERSHIP
Just spent some time with the CLASA executive board – about 10-12 member countries represented and outstanding participation from our friends from Guatemala and Nicaragua, who showed up in force!
Their presence, is proof of concept that Latin leadership is ready to take on the Lifebox mission. Sandra de Izquierdo (Guatemala) has begun laying the groundwork for a future generation of globally conscious Guatemalan physicians by bringing along two medical students to observe and assist. Lots of interest, lots of questions from the CLASA delegates and we’re getting ready for the workshop tomorrow.
I emphasised the role of local societies in both delivering and funding the programme, and spent a bit of time with Miguel Mercado, President of the Bolivian Society. He believes that the oximeter need there may be substantially higher than was first estimated, and we discussed how to ensure the oximeters go to hospitals in real need.
Tomorrow, an unknown number of professionals from the Eastern D.R. provinces are expected for the Lifebox workshop. But we’ve got lots of instructors and I’m optimistic that we can handle whatever comes…
Date: Friday, May 30th 2014
Re: SAFE SURGERY FUNDAMENTALS
Today, a combination of slight frustration and immense gratification (a good balance on the whole!). A bit of chaos with scheduling some conflicting sessions meant we lost a few of our 18 participants at the coffee break, but the faculty was stellar.
Guatemalan and Nicaraguan friends from our November visit were doing most of the teaching, and I had the pleasure of a Guatemalan senior medical student bailing me out when I ran into linguistic trouble.
Most exciting – the amazing evidence of ongoing engagement around the programmes in both Guatemala and Nicaragua. In Guatemala, the minister of health, who attended the workshop last year, commissioned an expanded oximetry needs assessment, and based on this study, the Asociacion de Anestesiologia, Reanimacion y Tratamiento del Dolor (AGARTD) is applying for a grant to extend the oximeter distribution beyond ORs throughout public hospitals.
In Nicaragua some of our local sponsors (Serge Amador and ANARE President Maria de Espinoza ) have launched a study project on the quality of Checklist use, trying to distinguish between a “tick the box” approach and genuine multi-disciplinary engagement – a safe surgery fundamental.
Date: Saturday, May 31st
Re: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
A small program this morning with about six participants – we ran the workshop as a single group. Once again, our visiting faculty distinguished itself in the conduct of the program. Karla Navas (AGARTD President) led a discussion of 5-6 scenarios with the group masterfully and Serge Amador presented on the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist with clearly evident passion.
Nearly all of the people who came to support our program from Guatemala and Nicaragua had the opportunity to personally lead components of the training, and I have great confidence in their ability to deliver a robust program.
The impact of the training and the oximeter distribution is immediate – but a lot of our most important conversations are about the future of the project. Following the morning session, I spoke with Carlos Guzman (President SDA) about future steps in the DR – ensuring trainers have the right experience, keeping up with the needs assessment and planning a national session that will bring end-users for training - especially recovery nurses, who are so vital for a safe perioperative process. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the Dominican anesthesiologists not only for extending the scope of Lifebox in their country, but joining in the broader Latin American effort.
Thinking about the success of projects like Kenya – Kenyan funding, as well as faculty – we spoke about internal fund raising.
Of course there are some practical issues – 20 oximeters still in customs, but delighted to report that the Health Ministry is going to assist.
I am also pleased to report that I survived a beach volleyball game with the Guatemalan medical students, though a final report on the consequences is most probably best reserved for another day…