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READ MORE Pakistan | Operation Theatres | Harvard School Of Public Health | World Health Organization
NEW DELHI: It's a strange dichotomy. India,
believed to be home to 1.26 lakh millionaires, has
just one operation theatre per 1 lakh population.
A latest study by the Harvard School of Public
Health has found that while the South-East Asia
region has just 2.6 OTs per 1 lakh population, the
number is as low as 1.3 OT per 1 lakh population
in India and Pakistan.
What's worse, the surgical facilities that are
available don't have the basic safety equipment
necessary for safe surgery - such as oxygen
Speaking to TOI, senior author of the study Dr Atul Gawande admitted
that "half of the operating rooms in India lack functioning oxygen
Eastern Europe has the highest number of OTs per 1 lakh population --
25.1 -- followed by Asia Pacific (high income countries) 24.3, Central
Europe 15.7, Western Europe 14.7, North America and Australasia 14.3,
Central Asia 11.7 and the Caribbean 10.4 OTs per 1 lakh population.
South-East Asia comes right at the end of the heap with 2.6 OTs. The
worse are Oceania at 1.9, sub-Saharan Africa (central) 1.2, sub-Saharan
Africa (east) 1.1 and sub-Saharan Africa (west) 1.
Even some regions classified as low middle according to economic wealth, just like South-East
Asia, had greater number of OTs.
Dr Gawande said, "For South Asia, which is primarily India and Pakistan, access to surgical
services is extremely low - just 1.3 OTs per 100,000 people. By comparison, China and
surrounding countries have double the number - around 2.6 OTs per 100,000. Middle income
countries have an average of more than 5 OTs while high-income countries generally have more
than 10 OTs per 1 lakh population. So we have a long way to go to really meet the basic needs of
the population in India for surgical services."
The team says that of the 234 million surgeries that take place around the world every year, the
wealthiest third of the global population underwent 75% of them, the poorest third just 4%.
Kounteya Sinha,TNN | Jul 4, 2010, 02.37 AM IST
ndia has just one operation theatre per one lakh
people: Study
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Published in the `Lancet' on Friday, the study says that more than 2 billion people worldwide do
not have adequate access to surgical services. WHO says one in every 25 people are undergoing a
surgery at any given point of time. Shockingly, more than seven million people across the world
suffer from preventable surgical injuries every year. One million patients even die immediately
after the surgery, making safety of patients during surgery a substantial public health concern.
Another shocking part of the study were the number of OTs which lacked basic safety equipment
like a pulse oximeter, a device that indirectly measures the oxygen saturation of a patient's blood
and changes in blood volume in the skin.
Around 49% of OTs in South Asia did not have pulse oximeters, compared to 9% in Europe, 7% in
Latin America and just 0.2% in Asia Pacific. About 19% of operating theatres -- 77,700 -- did not
have pulse oximeters worldwide.
Gawande and his colleagues obtained profiles of 769 hospitals in 92 countries for the study.
Dr Gawande said, "It is not news that the poor have worse access to hospital services like surgery.
But the size of this population is a shock. Our findings indicate that one-third of the world's
population remains effectively without access to essential surgical services - services such as
emergency caesarean section and treatment for serious road traffic injuries. Surgery has been a
neglected component of public health planning and this clearly needs to change."