Lifebox launches Safe Surgery workshops in Central America

With a combined population of more than 36.5 million people, safe surgery within the four most populous countries in Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua – is vital for a strong regional healthcare system.

Lifebox has already established strong links in Central America, having carried out large-scale oximeter distributions and training workshops in the region since 2011. So far we’ve placed more than 1,300 pulse oximeters into the operating and recovery rooms of the regions public hospitals.

To further enhance surgical safety within the region, Lifebox and the anaesthesia societies of Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, organised two workshops, to train clinicians and develop a stronghold of surgical safety trainers. To facilitate both workshops, we organised a faculty made up of a number of friends and partners to the organisation, including Drs. Carolina Haylock-Loor, George Molina, Melissa Duran, Andrea Gomez, and Adriana Serna for the Checklist Strategies Workshop and Fernanda Morales with our partner Christina Fast of Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT) for the Safer Surgical Instruments workshop.

A core component of our work, the Surgical Safety Checklist is a communications tool proven to reduce complications and deaths from unsafe surgery by up to 40%. Our Clean Cut program has seen significant results in reducing surgical site infections at our sites in Ethiopia, including a 78% improvement in the confirmation of sterile instruments and a 35% improvement in proper timing of prophylactic antibiotic administration, both proven measures to reducing SSI rates.

“Lifebox is so fortunate to have such long-standing partnerships across Central America. It’s down to these strong alliances that we’ve been able to deliver two new streams of work which have expanded our programmatic reach” said Kitty Jenkin, Lifebox’s program manager for Central America.

“This has enabled us to support more healthcare providers across the region to improve surgical safety.”

The sessions were attended by 40 participants, made up of a range of clinicians from the region, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, and theater nurses.

See a photo essay about the workshop by photographer Scott Streble.