Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society


CAS IEF supports SAFE (Safer Anesthesia From Education) Obstetric Anesthesia Course for Rwanda

Through the generosity of many donors, we’ve exceeded our goal of providing Rwanda with 250 Lifebox pulse oximeters! We sincerely thank you.

Now we would like to focus on improving obstetric anesthesia care in Rwanda. Cesarean sections are the most common major surgical procedure in sub-Saharan Africa[i] and maternal mortality remains unacceptably high. As many as one in six women in the poorest parts of the world will die as a result of pregnancy, compared to one in 30,000 for wealthier nations[ii]. Maternal mortality has been estimated to be 540 per 100,000 live births in Rwanda in 2008[iii]. This contrasts with a maternal mortality rate of 7 per 100,000 live births the same year in Canada.

Skilled anesthesia providers can help to decrease maternal mortality. Currently, the majority of anesthesia providers in Rwanda are technicians, who have only received a few years of training after high school. They often work in isolation, under harsh circumstances, without supervision to manage obstetric emergencies, and few opportunities for continuing education.

CAS IEF – along with the WFSA and partners in Rwanda – will be offering the SAFE Obstetric Anesthesia Course for Rwanda in January 2013. This four-day course will teach a systematic approach to routine and emergent obstetrical anesthesia challenges to anesthesia providers in Rwanda. In addition, the course includes a day devoted to “Building Safe Teams” where the anesthesia providers work on improving teamwork skills, learn about the surgical safety checklist, and how to use pulse oximetry.

The Lifebox pulse oximeters, raised through your generous donations, will be distributed during this course. The SAFE Obstetric Anesthesia Course will be followed by the creation of an anesthesia practice network (APN). The APN will help to link anesthesia providers around the country and to help them incorporate new learning into clinical practice improvements through the development of a mentorship program and on-line communication strategy.

From the donations to Lifebox, anesthesia providers will be equipped with pulse oximeters; the next step is education to recognize and safely manage common maternal health issues.

Please kindly donate to XXXXXXXXXX support the SAFE Obstetric Anesthesia Course.

Your donations are greatly appreciated; they will be used to help raise the level of obstetric anesthesia care to improve safety for pregnant women in Rwanda. Many thanks.

For more information about the program, contact Dr. Patty Livingston at

[i] Fenton, P., Whitty, C. & Reynolds, F. (2003). Cesarean section in Malawi: prospective study of early maternal and perinatal mortality. British Medical Journal. 327, 587.

[ii] Ronsmans C, Graham W. Maternal mortality: who, when, where, and why. Lancet 2006 368:1189-200

[iii] World Health Organization, UNICEF,UNFPA & World Bank. (2010). Trends in maternal mortality 1990-2008.

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