Baringo: Applauding anesthetists, the unsung theater heroes 

Surgeons at work. Anesthetists are a vital part of the team at the theater and anesthesia is an integral part in relieving pain during surgery. PHOTO/Future Health Africa.
  • World Anesthesia Day is marked to commemorate the anniversary of the first use of ether anesthesia by Dr. William T.G Morton in 1846. 
  • The guardians of painless surgeries are slowly being recognized, causing a surge in the number of students seeking to pursue anesthetic courses.
  • In some cases, sedatives are administered continuously during surgery but with close monitoring.

As the world celebrated World Anesthesia Day on October 16, 2023, themed Anaesthesia and Cancer Care, the day went unnoticed despite the relevance and significance anesthesia has brought to the health sector and its direct consumers, especially cancer patients and those undergoing surgery.


An accidental cut on your finger, a prick on your foot and any form of sharp object in your flesh would cause a spring of endless and unimaginable pain. 

However you try, you can only comfort yourself with the bit of first aid knowledge you or someone close to you knows. 

These situations are always scary and nerve-wracking; you need a solution to make the pain disappear immediately. 

Now imagine a planned surgery to save your life but without any form of painkiller, cruel! 


According to Dr. Martin Cheboi, a medical officer at Mercy Mission Hospital Eldama Ravine in Baringo County, no surgical department can be successful without anesthetists. 

The role of anesthetics in the surgical department is to ensure patients do not feel any pain during surgery, and this has enabled him to perform all surgical procedures of about five surgeries a day, that is, elective surgery and medical surgery.

Thanks to anesthesia, lives in the theater can be saved in comfort. 

Dr. Martin Cheboi, a Medical Officer at Mercy Mission Hospital Eldama Ravine, Baringo County. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Dr Cheboi says that with the growing demand for patients who need surgery, the current world must appreciate such advanced medical steps in combating pain.

Commemorating excellence

World Anesthesia Day is marked to commemorate the anniversary of the first use of ether anesthesia by Dr. William T.G Morton in 1846. 

This move has since been considered a milestone that has revolutionized the field of surgery and pain management.

Although this subject would resonate well with the medics in the medical field and a few learned friends or patients who have had surgeries, the day is important as its recognition has left many wondering and in need of more information.

According to Chris Aledi, a registered anesthetist at Mercy Mission Hospital Eldama Ravine, anesthesia has different ways of administration, depending on whether it is general anesthesia or regional anesthesia, famously known as spinal anesthesia. 

He says the first doctor who performed surgery under general anesthesia for the first time was surrounded by medics who witnessed the medication’s effectiveness.

“Today, in the world of anesthesia or medicine, we are reminded of the need to avail anesthesia medicine 24/7 to ensure patient comfort and safe surgery. 


You cannot work alone as an anesthetist during surgery. You need teamwork to ensure successful and safe surgeries,” explained Dr. Aledi.

The day has contributed to a huge mass of anesthesia professionals, famously called anesthesiologists, who skilfully ensure patients undergo surgery with utmost comfort. 

This serves as a reminder of the day-to-day progress in the practice of medicine from the healthcare professions. 

The guardians of painless surgeries are slowly being recognized, causing a surge in the number of students seeking to pursue anesthetic courses.

The first doctor to use anesthesia was a dentist from America using diethyl anesthesia at a hospital in Massachusetts General in Boston, where he removed a jaw tumor, making history.

Correct dosage

The doctor also acknowledged the successful use of ether anesthesia but also emphasized the importance of administering the right dose for safe practice, as excessive usage would cause death during surgery.

Anesthetist Chris Aledi says the anesthesia administered during surgery ensures the patient is hemodynamically, physically or holistically stable and pain-free during surgery. 

Chris Aledi, registered anesthetist at Mercy Mission Hospital Eldama Ravine, Baringo, speaking to the media recently. PHOTO/Courtesy.

The surgery must be done in comfortable situations for both the surgeon and the patient.

Side effects

Aledi says that everything with a good side also has a negative side. The anesthesia has minimal side effects depending on your body’s physique and health. 

“There are drugs used during anesthesia, and commonly all drugs have side effects. Patients with liver issues and psychiatric conditions are among those who get side effects from anesthesia. 

This is why we have to get a good patient history so that we can know the suitable drugs to administer to them,” he explains.

For regional and spinal anesthesia, one of the effects is headaches after surgery, though not in all patients. It is more related to the technique of administering the anesthetics.

Regional aesthetics include more extensive body regions like an arm or leg, often employed in hand surgeries, joint procedures, pain relief during childbirth, or C-section deliveries. 

In some surgeries, especially regional ones, some of the patients are half awake. 

They can be engaged in some conversations, though unconscious. 

The effects of the drugs can cause patients to even go on speaking their minds a few minutes after surgery, thus the need to always ensure aftercare for recuperation.

The other way of administering anesthesia is local anesthetics targeting specific areas, such as a single tooth, commonly applied in dentistry or for procedures like cataract removal and minor skin treatments. 

Aledi encourages patients always to ensure they get all the information about surgery before going under the knife, ask questions, and feel free to understand the medical tools used in the operation theatre. 

This year’s theme targeted medics to raise awareness and advocate for anesthesia services to cancer patients by trying to improve their recovery and treatment.

These calls enable people to stay updated and spread the word.

Sedation levels

On whether one can wake up during surgery or can be awake during surgery depends on the level of sedation by the anesthetist: minimal, moderate and deep sedation. 

This is measured by your response to stimulation and how you are able to maintain breathing and other vital functions. 

In some cases, sedatives are administered continuously during surgery but with close monitoring.

Every day, successful emergency surgeries are a result of competent anesthetists. 

Over the years

In the past, surgeries would be done without any pain reliever. 

That included a lot of people in the surgery room to constrain the patient to ensure he or she undergoes any form of surgery. 

Amputation would happen live and one would go through the agony that also left some patients dead as a result of unbearable pain. 

Some patients and people who restrained the patient on the operation table would have a traumatic life. 

Accidents, too, were prone to happen due to the patient’s shaking. Such kinds of surgeries were done within minutes to minimize the agony one would be going through.


In Kenya, anesthetists are protected under the Kenya Society of Anaesthesiologists (KSA), the Kenya Registered Nurse Anesthetists (KRNA), and the Society of Paediatric Anaesthesiologists of Kenya (SPAK), which recently decried low access to safe anesthesia and surgery in the country, saying this has kept the burden of surgical diseases high.

KRNA represents all Kenyan registered nurses. 

It is registered under CAP 108 of the Laws of Kenya, with more than 300 registered nurses nationally.

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Their objective is to ensure they promote access and delivery of safe anesthesia for every surgical patient.

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Janet Kiriswo is A Multi-lingual certified professional Journalist (English, Swahili and Native Kalenjin). Holder of a Bachelor`s degree in PR & Communication skills from Moi University, A Diploma in Mass Communication from The Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, (KIMC), with over 15 years active experience in the media industry. She thrives in covering stories matters that touches on Business, Health, community, Culture and Traditional issues and progress, Politics, Interviews and leaderships among others. She poses other skills in Public Relationship, Communication consultant, Radio presentation, broadcasting, visual feature stories, video/voice recording and editing among others. She strongly believes in changing the world through Communication.


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