Safe Surgery Initiative
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The Safe Surgery Initiative (LifeBox Project) was one of WSFP’s first non-mission program that aimed to address the issue of the lack of funding and support for safe anesthesia in Low to Middle Income Countries (Philippines). One essential component of safe anesthesia, as recommended by the 2018 National Health Standards, was Pulse Oximetry.
This project, sponsored by Americares, was led by Dr. Henrique Da Roza and Ms. Sugar Ferre. During their surgical outreach programs around the country, the WSFP team had assessed the state of equipment and training of the different hospitals around the country. They felt the need to further improve the capacity of these hospitals through the Safe Surgery Initiative. Though baseline data was difficult to assess, the team saw this project as a necessary effort.
In 2018 and 2019, the Safe Surgery Initiative served as the umbrella term for several different projects that aimed to ease the surgical burden of the Philippines through the donation of surgical equipment to patients and public hospitals. It further expanded with the distribution of colostomy bags in collaboration with Project CURE, the distribution of anesthesia airway kits in collaboration with Dr. Dan Tapia (Project DAN PH), and the Philippine Society of Anesthesiologists. Moreover, another goal of Safe Surgery Initiative was to provide training and education to the recipient medical teams, to provide pulse oximeters, and to conduct follow-up sessions on the hypoxia action plan, pulse oximetry and the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.
The Safe Surgery Initiative started in March 2018 and ended in October 2019. In the span of more than a year, a total of 900 pulse oximeters were distributed to 289 different hospitals, along with a total of 2,659 individuals (nurses, operating room staff, doctors, and administrators) who volunteered for the different activities. Though some hospitals were not qualified to receive pulse oximeters due to the lack of personnel or operating room equipment, participants from these hospitals were still invited to attend the lectures of the program.
The project encountered different issues throughout the duration, some of which were; missing batteries from the pulse oximeters, inclement weather, and the cancellation of planned hospital visits. These issues were the causes of delays in the project timeline, revisions of plans, and an unexpected increase in the required budget. In total, the allocated budget for the project was PHP 2,381,000.00 (USD 46,686).