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Global Surgery, Obstetric, and Anesthesia Indicator Definitions and Reporting: An Utstein Consensus Report
Published: April 2, 2021
Background Indicators to evaluate progress towards timely access to safe surgical, anaesthesia, and obstetric (SAO) care were proposed in 2015 by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. Despite being rapidly taken up by practitioners, datapoints from which to derive them were not defined, limiting comparability across time or settings. We convened global experts to evaluate and explicitly define - for the first time - the indicators to improve comparability and support achievement of 2030 goals to improve access to safe affordable surgical and anaesthesia care. Methods and findings The Utstein process for developing and reporting guidelines through a consensus building process was followed. In-person discussions at a two day meeting were followed by an iterative process conducted by email and virtual group meetings until consensus was reached. Participants consisted of experts in surgery, anaesthesia, and obstetric care, data science, and health indicators from high, middle, and low income countries. Considering each of the six indicators in turn, we refined overarching descriptions and agreed upon data points needed for construction of each indicator at current time (basic data points), and as each evolves over 2-5 (intermediate) and >5 year (full) timeframes. We removed one of the original six indicators (one of two financial risk protection indicators was eliminated) and refined descriptions and defined data points required to construct the 5 remaining indicators: geospatial access, workforce, surgical volume, perioperative mortality, and catastrophic expenditure. Conclusions To track global progress toward timely access to quality SAO care, these indicators – at the basic level - should be implemented universally. Intermediate and full evolutions will assist in developing national surgical plans, and collecting data for research studies.