Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Global Challenge

For the past two years through this blog we have shared many stories.  We have shared stories of individuals in Burundi who have benefited from the medical and surgical care delivered at Kibuye Hope Hospital. These are the personal stories of the patients who have made it to the hospital. What we have, however, neglected to talk about is a global problem we are currently facing. Today there are 5 billion people who do not have access to safe and affordable anesthesia and surgical care when needed, according to a recent Lancet Commission on Global Surgery.  If that number sounds like a lot, that is because it is a lot.  In fact the total population of the world is 7.125 billion.  That means the MAJORITY of the world does not have access to safe and affordable anesthesia and surgical care.  

This same commission estimated that 16.9 million people die every year for lack of access to safe and affordable anesthesia. This is more than twice the population of Washington state ... dying, every year.  This figure is four times higher than the number of people dying annually from malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis COMBINED!  

According to the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists "a lack of training in anesthesia, along with a lack of vital anesthesia equipment in low and middle income countries, is a huge part of what is making this number so shockingly high.  In many countries anesthesia and surgery are simply not safe".

It is hard for people to wrap their minds around this. It is hard to make people care about numbers so large they are almost unfathomable.  I'm sure it would be more vivid if we were all looking at the problem from inside the circle with the other 5 billion people who simply have no way of getting a needed surgery. 

This is the crux of what we are doing. We can go to Burundi and train anesthetists and surgeons and treat patients with safe and affordable care.  What can you do?  You can support those who go and those who are laboring to change these statistics.  

We need a team of monthly supporters fueling the work we are doing in Burundi. If you would like to join our support team there is still plenty of room. We are currently at 41% of our monthly support goal with the aim to reach 100% by June so that we can deploy at the end of the summer. Will you partner with us to be a part of the solution to this global challenge?