WAD – Sanchita Bhatia

Name: Sanchita Bhatia

Role: Communications Coordinator
Lifebox-Students for Global Health
University Representatives Programme

“Medical students are the workforce of tomorrow…”

#WorldAnaesthesiaDay #CountMeIn

We know that students are the future of global anaesthesia and surgery. In celebration of World Anaesthesia Day, we’re supporting the WFSA‘s Count Me In campaign, sharing perspectives from students advocating for safer anaesthesia and surgical care as part of our Lifebox-Students for Global Health University Representative Programme.

First up, Sanchita Bhatia…

You’re the new Communications Coordinator for the Lifebox-Students for Global Health University Representative Programme, what motivated you to apply for this role?

I think that social media is an important driver for change, and it can unite a lot of people to make an impact globally. When I learnt about Lifebox, I wanted to get involved to promote advocacy and awareness about the disparities in access to safe and timely surgical and anaesthesia care. With this role, I believe that I can make a change by reaching out to people around the world, and uniting forces to start initiatives addressing this disparity.

This year the WFSA’s theme for WAD focuses on human resources for anaesthesia. How do you think students can get involved in supporting the urgent scale-up of the anaesthesia workforce around the world?

Students can contribute in improving education and awareness about the global need for safe anaesthesia, not only amongst other students but also clinicians and academics to draw attention to the preventable deaths and disability from inadequate investment into safe surgical and anaesthetic conditions and workforce. Students can also reach out to universities, healthcare organisations and governments to invest in safe anaesthesia provision. Locally, students can liaise with anaesthetists in their university to develop grassroots training courses for specific skills to empower anaesthetists of the future. Furthermore, medical students are the workforce of tomorrow, and can not only pursue anaesthetics as a career in the future, but aim to get involved at a global level for their training.

What do you hope to achieve in your role over the next year?

Over the next year, I hope to empower and collaborate with the Lifebox-SfGH Representatives to run advocacy campaigns that tie forces with global organisations such as Lifebox, WFSA and The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, and to have a widespread impact. I also hope to improve education and awareness about access to global surgery through our webinars and newsletters.

Why do you think it’s important for medical students to be engaged with global surgery and anaesthesia?

As the future of medicine, it is our duty to engage with global matters in healthcare. However, medical schools teaching in global health, much less global surgery and anaesthesia, is very limited. As a result, the future generation of medicine is not fully aware about the lack of access to safe surgery and anaesthesia in low-resource settings around the world. Medical students, empowered with awareness of such global disparities and education to start initiatives can be a force to make a change – at a local and a global level.