Physician anesthesiologists are leaders in patient safety in the developed world. The technology, vigilance and protocols that our specialty embrace have saved countless lives in the O.R. and everywhere that sedation takes place. It would be easy to believe that this is normative. But in low-income countries across the globe, anesthesia-related mortality rates are shockingly high, and most of them occur in healthy patients (ASA Physical Status 1-2). Most of these patient deaths would be considered preventable in a higher-income environment.

This reality is not a global secret. In fact, the global anesthesia crisis has been reported before,1,2  but without action until recently. bNon-communicable and chronic diseases now eclipse infectious disease as factors contributing to global mortality rates. With this disease transition, the role of safe anesthesia and surgery has emerged as an important strategy...

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