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Paediatr Anaesth. 2011 Jul;21(7):825-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9592.2010.03500.x. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Improving surgical safety globally: pulse oximetry and the WHO Guidelines for Safe Surgery.

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Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK.


Access to safe surgery should be considered as part of the basic human right for health, but unfortunately, this ideal is far from being reached in many low-income countries. Pulse oximetry is recommended as a minimum standard of monitoring by all anesthesia organizations that have set standards, yet around 78,000 operating theaters worldwide lack this essential monitor. The WHO Safe Surgery Saves Lives Program has identified evidence-based guidelines for safe surgery that are applicable in any setting, and the Global Pulse Oximetry Program will help improve access to pulse oximetry in countries where it is not available. However, these initiatives are just a start; capacity, infrastructure, trained healthcare providers and access to essential drugs, and equipment for anesthesia and surgery need to become a public health priority in many low-income countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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