By Sarah Kessler, Lifebox Foundation
Safe surgery can’t bring back the millions of women who have lost their lives in childbirth, but it can change things for future generations.
A recent study by Higashi and colleagues1 found that if quality surgery were universally available, a tremendous number of maternal and neonatal diseases and surgical conditions in low-resource settings could be reduced — averting an estimated 21 million years of healthy life lost. But the necessary surgeries are few and far between and are not always conducted safely.
Lifebox Foundation is a global NGO led by surgeon and author Atul Gawande. The organization works in more than 90 countries where healthcare workers often lack the resources and training they need to conduct safe surgery and anesthesia.
Lifebox provides essential equipment and education in the World Health Organization’s Surgical Safety Checklist. This intervention has been proven to reduce complications and mortality by more than 40 percent.
In their first-ever joint project, Lifebox and Kybele are working in collaboration with the Armenian Society of Anaesthesiologists and Intensive Care Specialists and with support from the Armenian Ministry of Health on a project to make anesthesia safer. Lifebox is donating 100 essential oxygen monitors [pulse oximeters] that a Kybele team will deliver in September as part of a training workshop. The estimated value of the donation is $25,000.
This project won’t only make childbirth safer for those mothers and babies whose last hope might be an emergency Caesarean section but will also support colleagues who are on the front line day after day.
Stay tuned for updates this fall.
1 Higashi H, et al. Surgically avertable burden of obstetric conditions in low-middle-income regions: a modelled analysis. BJOG 2015;122:228-37.