The Global Anesthesia Workforce Survey: Updates and trends in the anesthesia workforce

Document Type





Background: There is a large global deficit of anesthesia providers. In 2016, the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) conducted a survey to count the number of anesthesia providers worldwide. Much work has taken place since then to strengthen the anesthesia health workforce. This study updates the global count of anesthesia providers.
Methods: Between 2021 and 2023, an electronic survey was sent to national professional societies of physician anesthesia providers (PAPs), nurse anesthetists, and other nonphysician anesthesia providers (NPAPs). Data included number of providers and trainees, proportion of females, and limited intensive care unit (ICU) capacity data. Descriptive statistics were calculated by country, World Bank income group, and World Health Organization (WHO) region. Provider density is reported as the number of providers per 100,000 population.
Results: Responses were obtained for 172 of 193 United Nations (UN) member countries. The global provider density was 8.8 (PAP 6.6 NPAP 2.3). Seventy-six countries had a PAP density <5, whereas 66 countries had a total provider density <5. PAP density increased everywhere except for high- and low-income countries and the African region.
Conclusions: The overall size of the global anesthesia workforce has increased over time, although some countries have experienced a decrease. Population growth and differences in which provider types that are counted can have an important impact on provider density. More work is needed to define appropriate metrics for measuring changes in density, to describe anesthesia cadres, and to improve workforce data collection processes. Effort to scale up anesthesia provider training must urgently continue.


Volume, issue and pagination are not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Anesthesia and Analgesia