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Schulich to lead WHO surgical efforts

January 23, 2017

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, as a WHO Collaborating Centre in November. A first-of-its-kind designation for the university, the team was tapped to address the issue of access to safe surgical and perioperative care on a global scale.

WHO recently designated emergency and essential surgery as an emerging pillar of its work based on the fact five billion people around the world don’t have access to essential life-saving surgery, and 30 per cent of the global burden of disease would be preventable through adequate access to safe essential surgical services like C-sections and orthopedic procedures.

“The global burden of disease, because of lack of access to surgery, by far outpaces the global burden of disease for HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined,” said Dr. Janet Martin, who, along with Dr. Davy Cheng, is a project lead on the WHO Collaborating Centre. “Now, it is our responsibility to shine the light on this problem. The numbers are staggering.”

WHO Collaborating Centres are institutions – such as research institutes, parts of universities or academies – designated by the Director-General to carry out activities in support of the organization’s programs. Currently, there are more than 700 WHO collaborating centres in more than 80 member states working in areas such as nursing, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic diseases and health technologies.

One of only 28 Canadian centres, the Schulich team is the first collaborating centre in the world to be designated by the WHO to study perioperative surgical care. They will research the gaps in resources, capacity, infrastructure and training in countries around the globe in order to develop evidence-based priorities and put forward recommendations for change.

Read the full story in Western News.

This article appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of Alumni Gazette
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