Southampton hospital develops training resource for anaesthetists in developing countries

29 May 2013

A pioneering video library to help train anaesthetists in developing countries has been developed by the Department of Anaesthesia and the Learning Support Team at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Initially designed in 2007 as part of the Trust’s link with Nepal, it is now being used in hospitals across Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi.

The brainchild of Dr Oliver Ross, a consultant anaesthetist at Southampton General Hospital and founder of Southampton Overseas Health and Medicine (SOHMED), the library has now been incorporated into a wider international e-learning package, called e-SAFE [1], by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) and e-Learning for Healthcare. Videos include demonstrations of spinal anaesthesia, intubation and extubation, caesarean sections and the use of general anaesthetic ketamine.

In Nepal, a shortage of medically-qualified anaesthetists, particularly in rural areas outside the capital Kathmandu, means patients — predominantly women in labour — are vulnerable when an emergency arises. Although the gap is currently filled by small numbers of isolated nurse anaesthetists, they are reliant on educational and clinical support.

“For far too long, anaesthesia has been a neglected specialty worldwide and Nepal is an example of that, with a severe shortage of anaesthetists — 0.3 per 100,000 compared to 17 per 100,000 in the UK,” said Dr Ross. “This situation is similar in many poor countries around the world and places patients at real risk of serious complications during childbirth and surgery, so tackling this in Nepal is a step towards better overall standards and begins to address the issue of appallingly high maternal mortality rates that persist worldwide.”

Further information

1. The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI), e-SAFE, Safer Anaesthesia from Education:


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