The current state of anesthesia safety in a third world country: a cross-sectional survey among anesthesia providers in Ethiopia

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Background: Improving patient safety during anesthesia and surgery becomes a major global public health issue due to the increasing in surgical burden. Anesthesia is delivered safely in developed countries, but its safety is hampered by complex problems in third world countries. This survey assesses the unmet anesthesia needs of one of a third world country, Ethiopia. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Amhara region of Ethiopia from 15/12/2019 to 30/1/2020. All 81 hospitals of the region were stratified by their level as district, general, and referral hospital. The study was conducted in 66 hospitals. The number of hospitals from each strata were calculated by proportional sampling technique resulting; five referral, three general, and fifty eight primary hospitals. Each hospital from each strata was selected by convenience. Each anesthesia provider for the survey was selected randomly from each hospital and questionnaires were distributed. The minimum expected safe anesthesia requirements were taken from World Health Organization-World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists International Standard and Ethiopian Hospitals Standard. Anesthesia practice was expected safe if the minimum requirements were practiced always (100%) in each hospital. P < 0.05 with 95% confidence interval were used to compare the safety of anesthesia between higher and lower level hospitals. Results: Seventy eight (88.6%) anesthesia providers working in 62 hospitals responded to the survey. On aggregate, 36 (58%) hospitals from the total 62 hospitals have met the minimum expected safe anesthesia requirements. Among the different variables assessed; professional aspects 32 (52.45%), medication and intravenous fluid 33 (53.36%), equipment and facilities 33 (52.56%), patient monitoring 43(68.88%), and anesthesia conduct 38 (62.1%) of surveyed hospitals have met the minimum requirements. Anesthesia safety is relatively higher in higher level hospitals (general and referral) 6 (75%) when compared to district hospitals 30 (55.5%), P < 0.001. Conclusion: Anesthesia safety in Ethiopia appears challenged by substandard continuous medical education and continuous professional development practice, and limited availability of some essential equipment and medications. Patient monitoring and anesthesia conduct are relatively good, but World Health Organization surgical safety checklist application and postoperative pain management are very low, affecting the delivery of safe anesthesia conduct.

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Mihretu, F. (2021). The current state of anesthesia safety in a third world country: a cross-sectional survey among anesthesia providers in Ethiopia. Patient Safety in Surgery, 15(1).

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