Aug 01, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Fire and Emergency Medical Services created history on Friday when it extended its service to cater for those along the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara.
This is the first time, those areas will benefit from the life-saving operations since its launch in 2014. The service was in the past, centralised in Georgetown but last Friday, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) sites opened at Melanie East Coast Demerara and Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
Those in attendance of Friday’s opening ceremony included Minster of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn; Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony; Advisor to Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy; Advisor to Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Harry Gill; Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs, Daniel Seeram; Chairman of Region Four, Mae Thomas; Fire Chief, Mr. Kamaladeen Edoo; and EMS Medical Director, Dr. Zulfikar Bux.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Bux, the pioneer of the service, pointed to the years of hard work and challenges that he and his team had to endure to ensure his vision for all Guyanese to have access to the vital emergency service realised.
He expressed his optimism of being able to do another launch in Regions Three and Five before the end of the year.
Dr. Bux noted that with the expanded service, Guyanese in the city and along the East Coast, up to Nabacalis and those along the East Bank, up to Garden of Eden will now have access to emergency medical transport with trained Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).
“It is not an ambulance with attendants, EMS services is a modernised approach to emergency patient care and transport in the public domain and involves an integrated system of planning, communication, quality assurance, training and development, and logistics and fleet monitoring to ensure patients in emergencies are treated and transported in the most efficient and effective manner,” Dr. Bux stated.
He said that this approach will modernise frontline emergency care in Guyana especially with the fact that international EMS best practices are being maintained with the service.
“We have local experts and more importantly, an international expert from the Vanderbilt Medical Center, who are working behind the scenes to ensure that standards are met and as this system grows, the quality of healthcare is maintained,” he said.
The EMS system was initiated in 2011 when Dr. Bux saw the need for frontline emergency response especially for accident victims.
While he initially started by training police officers, he quickly realised that more lives can be saved in the public domain if a more structured system was available. With guidance from mentors at the Vanderbilt Medical Center, a National Plan was drafted and a pilot EMS system was launched at GPHC in 2014 with one ambulance.
The pilot was a success but the growth was stagnated until Dr. Bux teamed up with the Guyana Fire Service and found an ally in the then Fire Chief, Mr. Marlon Gentle.
Collaboration between the Guyana EMS of the MOH and the Guyana Fire Service was formed in 2016. Since then, over 1000 first responders have been trained, 18310 emergencies attended to, 27 babies delivered before reaching the hospital and four patients whose heart stopped beating in the public domain, were resuscitated and made it out alive.
Dr. Bux stated that this system has proven its worth and may be the biggest life saving venture embarked on in the years to come in Guyana.
Fire Chief, Edoo spoke of the support and dedication from the GFS for the system and committed to the expansion of the service throughout Guyana.
Minister Benn noted his interest of the work of the EMS under the GFS. He stated the need for continued relationship building and collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Home Affairs as the system expands.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony stated that the Ministry of Health will be getting twenty ambulances and will be building an EMS headquarters. He expressed his support for a proper EMS system in Guyana.
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