WHO expands first-level services
Dubai, September 27, 2007
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is expanding its programme to train health care staff in low-and middle-income countries in essential emergency, basic surgery and anesthesia skills.
The programme, which already exists in 22 countries, will boost the capacity of first-level health facilities (rural or district hospitals and health centres) to deal with simple but essential surgery in a growing number of developing regions, said a WHO official.
In many cases, death and permanent disability can be avoided through simple surgical interventions following road traffic injuries, interpersonal violence or war, abdominal emergencies, pregnancy complications, congenital abnormalities, fractures, burns, or the consequences of acute infections.
Together, these conditions cause the loss of approximately 11per cent of total lost years of healthy life (according to the World Health Report 2002). Injuries alone kill more than five million people every year, accounting for nearly one in every 10 deaths worldwide.
The WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Project trains health staff in simple surgical procedures, anaesthesia and emergency care. After training and with the help of basic equipment, health care staff are able to perform surgical procedures that save lives and prevent disability.
'The initiative signifies a shift in the way we think about surgery,' said Dr Luc Noel, in charge of clinical procedures at WHO. 'Until recently, surgery was a neglected health issue in developing countries because it was assumed to be too expensive and sophisticated.'
WHO established the Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care in 2005 to improve access to and quality of surgical care in the developing world. A broad partnership of internationally recognised organisations and individuals, the GIEESC counts 22 countries representing all WHO regions among its members. - TradeArabia News Service
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