March 29, 2020: Posted by Ankit Raj
COVID19 pandemic or “The Pandemic” has moved at an unprecedented rate, exposing our healthcare systems at the weakest links, not even sparing highly efficient HIC based healthcare systems like NHS. The worst of impact has been felt by anesthesia teams, including many who specialize in intensive care. They have been pushed with their back to the wall, running on bare minimum resources, and stretched to the limit. It is at times like this that we should pool global expertise, insights and resources together and concentrate on defeating this formidable enemy. It is within this context that I think Global Anesthesia needs to wake up from its slumber and get into action urgently.
Global Anesthesia comprises a unique international cohort of people, institutions and resources that have an expertise in providing anesthesia and intensive care with minimal resources in hostile environments. Many anesthesia teams from LMICs have vast expertise in providing peri-operative care with bare essential drugs and minimal resources. Subsequently they have also gained an expertise in providing life-saving intensive care with similar basic resources. Additionally many of these LMIC physicians and institutions have incorporated frugal innovation in their routine patient care that may be handy in times of crisis like now. At many places in LMIC, it is a pool of non-physician anesthetists and support staff that provide peri-operative and intensive care to serious patients. These resources can help provide relief to those at the frontline who are already exhausted and stretched beyond their comfort zones. Many anesthetists and physicians managing ICUs in LMIC institutions will agree that most often they run on minimal resources and heavy patient load. Their expertise can be sought after by institutions currently at the forefront of the fight against COVID in HICs like USA, UK and Italy. It is this mutual exchange of insights and experience that will pull us together and strengthen our fight.
When resources are scarce, solutions too few and the danger imminent, we should look outside our comfort zones. Through collaboration, partnerships and a mutual exchange of expertise, we can gain a lot of ground in beating The Pandemic.
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