Kate Woodhead, Chair of Trustees at Friends of African Nursing, discusses the challenges around perioperative safety in Africa including the need for training of perioperative nurses. She highlights how one small charity aims to make a difference.
The operating theatre in any country is a high-risk environment and there is a plethora of research which supports this. There are numerous occupational hazards for all practitioners who work there. There are, of course, many dangers for the patients as well, not least the likelihood of getting an infection during their surgical experience
Surgery is an essential element of healthcare and the need for it grows constantly with increasing trauma care required due to more vehicles on the roads; obstetric emergencies requiring surgery and specialised care; as well as cancer and a greater prevalence of orthopaedic diseases in the developing world, requiring surgical intervention. It is difficult to be exact about the burden of surgical disease, but it is estimated to be 11% of the global disease burden, which may be treated by surgery.1
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