Safer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE) | Association of Anaesthetists
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Safer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE)

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Safer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE)

Safer Anaesthesia From Education (SAFE) is a joint project developed in 2011 by the Association and the WFSA (World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists). The training initiative aims to bring practitioners of obstetric and paediatric anaesthesia (who throughout the world may be physician anaesthesiologists but are largely non-physicians) to a level of practice whereby they can deliver vigilant, competent, and safe anaesthesia. 

The underlying principle is to equip anaesthetists with the essential knowledge and skills so they can deliver safe care to their patients, even in very low resource settings, and to train as many anaesthesia providers as possible in each country in order to create a sustainable training model which can be embedded in the national health system.

Since the first SAFE course in Uganda in 2011, over 100 SAFE courses have now been delivered in 33 countries training over 3500 clinicians, mostly anaesthesia providers but also midwives, obstetricians and other physicians. Over 500 anaesthesia providers have been trained as SAFE trainers.

The SAFE approach combines UK anaesthetists with local instructors, who are provided with a train the trainers course to become the in-country faculty of the future.

SAFE courses are also run by Mercy Ships, CASIEF, national societies and by various other international teams of Doctors.

We are proud that SAFE courses have been run around the world, from Colombia to Samoa and throughout the African continent. Read more about where SAFE courses have been run on our SAFE Courses & Reports page.

If you are trained and are keen to run a SAFE course and would like further information on available resources and support, please get in touch with programmes@wfsahq.org.

We welcome applications for grant funding to run SAFE. See our volunteering & funding section for details.

Planning to run a SAFE course?

If you are planning to run a SAFE course please let us know about it by providing a few details here.

Submitting a SAFE course report

If you have already run a SAFE course please complete this form and send it along with a short report to projects@wfsahq.org

SAFE Paediatrics

The SAFE Paediatric Anaesthesia course is a three-day course which aims to provide refresher training in the essentials of paediatric anaesthesia which emphasises the principles of safe care for children, in particular, assessment, vigilance and competence in essential skills.

The course was written by paediatric anaesthetists with relevant experience, and includes sessions on anaesthesia for common elective and emergency conditions in children, pain management, fluid resuscitation, newborn and paediatric life support and paediatric trauma management. Each course participant receives a detailed course manual, handbook and logbook to take away and continue to use as a reference. 

A two-day version of the SAFE Paediatric Anaesthesia course has been developed for UK anaesthetists in 2019 and delivered in several UK locations. To find out about the next course, see our events page or contact our events team.

SAFE Obstetrics

SAFE Obs is a three-day training course aimed at both physician and non-physician anaesthetic providers in LMICs. The course addresses the core and extended roles of the anaesthetist in obstetric emergencies, with clinical scenarios based on the conditions causing 80% of maternal deaths: haemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia, obstructed labour, the complications of abortion and complications of anaesthesia and also covers early newborn care including resuscitation. As with the Paediatrics course, each participant receives a detailed course manual and logbook to take away and continue to use as a reference.

SAFE courses in obstetrics and paediatrics have now been delivered in 28 countries with excellent results. 

If you are trained and are keen to run a SAFE course and would like further information on available resources and support, please get in touch with programmes@wfsahq.org.

SAFE course manuals

View taster versions of the course manuals:

The SAFE trainer’s manual is available under a Creative Commons License. For quality control and to maintain standards the course should be delivered as set out in the manual with faculty of the recommended size and level of experience in relation to student numbers. We ask users not to change the course materials.

Participants on courses all receive a copy of the SAFE Paediatric & Obstetric Pocket Handbook. To see the handbook click here

Pour lire le manuel SAFE en français, cliquez ici.

SAFE Course evaluation

SAFE courses include a monitoring and evaluation component as standard. Further studies have evaluated the impact of SAFE courses in several countries. Publications related to SAFE include:

  • Livingston P, Evans F, Nsereko E, et al. Safer obstetric anesthesia through education and mentorship: a model for knowledge translation in Rwanda. Can J Anaesth 2014;61:1–12.
  • Enright A, Grady K, Evans F. A New Approach to Teaching Obstetric Anaesthesia in Low-Resource Areas. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2015;37(10):880–884
  • SharkeyE,BoydN,BurtonZ, et al. Safe paediatric anaesthesia project: scaling-up paediatric anaesthesia training in east and central Africa.