With a project valued at some US$46,500, the Ministry of Health’s Emergency Medicine Care is expected to be significantly boosted with training support organised by the Global Emergency Medicine Initiative (GEMINI).
GEMINI, which has as its mission to improve the quality of emergency medicine in developing countries around the world, has been diligently collaborating with the Rotary Club of Georgetown.
The local Rotary Club, through discussions with the Ministry of Health, was able to deduce that there is need for trained ambulatory care personnel, thus the initiative which was kicked into motion yesterday. Details of the programme were disclosed yesterday during a press briefing at the Georgetown Club which was hosted by Kit Nascimento.
Dr Ovid Fraser, a member of GEMINI, was tasked with undertaking the preliminary research which served to determine to what extent training was required. The Guyana- born physician said that attempts to set the project started about four years ago when GEMINI had visited here to explore the possibility of providing a programme in emergency medicine.
“We interviewed numerous people and the Rotary Club, and (some) in the medical profession, with the idea being for the Guyanese people to tell us what their needs were and we would see if we had the expertise to assist.”
It was on this basis and with guidance from the Ministry of Health, that a programme was fashioned for Guyana with specific need for technicians who are tasked with accompanying patients as they are transported to the hospital by ambulance. However, in recognition of the fact that one-off training would not be adequate enough to address the exiting challenge, a decision was made to organize a trainer of trainers programme.
“We thought that what we needed to do was to train a group of people who could be the teachers of Emergency Medicine Technology and train the ambulance staff on a permanent basis, so in that way we would leave a knowledge base in Guyana.”
A group of 25, very experienced and well qualified, nurses were identified for the training which is being held at Project Dawn, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown. They will be subjected for the next few days to a very intensive course in hope of them becoming capable of training Emergency Medicine Technicians (EMTs).
The aim of the project, he said, is to put in place “highly skilled support at the point of accident, injury or urgent need so that life can be sustained while patients are being transported to the hospital’s emergency room…”
GEMINI, he added, was tasked with recruiting the requisite skills to deliver the knowledge, and among those making up the facilitating team are two doctors and three Emergency Medicine Technologists, who are well qualified and operate in the United States, Dr Fraser said.
He is of the firm belief that they will be able to deliver a level of skills that would be comparable to any available in the United States. The facilitating team is expected to return in a few months to monitor and observe the teaching skills of those trained to ensure that the transfer of knowledge is efficient.
Timothy Redding, one of the instructors, said that the teaching process will be characterized by a 40-hour plus training programme which will last for eight-odd hours a day, entailing both hands-on practical and theoretical assessments. In addition, sessions will include assessing the teaching capabilities of the participants, Redding said.
“They were given textbooks ahead of time; they were given PowerPoint lectures with numerous links to educational sites on emergency medical responder in preparation ahead of the training.”
He is optimistic that each participant will be successful at the end of the teaching process on Friday and thus be able to deliver sessions of their own in the near future.
It is the expectation of members of the GEMINI organisation, a Rotarian-operated body, which was founded by Paul Gallagher, that the project will represent “a long-term initiative to radically improve emergency medical services in Guyana.”
Rotary, according to Gallagher is about partnerships, thus the service being delivered to Guyana has received financial support from at least three Rotary Clubs in the United States with GEMINI bringing in its own equipment to facilitate continuous training.
“When this project is finished the teaching will continue and expand so that the ripples and effects of this project can continue far, far into the future…” he asserted.
President of the Rotary Club, Ms. Anna Lisa Fraser-Phang, said that the project is one that is very “near and dear” to her heart, even as she recounted that it was just a few months back a relative of hers had suffered a broken neck.
“He is lucky to be alive today and even luckier to be able to walk today and that is thanks to the training of some of the persons who were around him and who were part of facilitating his transport to the hospital that he has been able to recover the way he has,” she emphasised.
The Red Cross volunteer underscored the importance of first responders and medical training even as she alluded to the urgency of the project which comes as part of the Rotary Club’s continued effort to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to help deliver health care.
Nascimento also alluded to the importance of improving the first responder reaction even as he made reference to injuries that can be caused during sporting activities such as motor-racing and rugby with which he has been affiliated over the years.
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