Incidents of violent attacks in Iraq catalyzed International Medical Corps to develop extensive training courses for Iraqi Emergency Medical Technicians. This initiative is the first in Iraq which aims to foster a national standard for emergency care; one which utilizes advanced technology, theoretical, and practical skills. Last week, the full scope and purpose of the project was exemplified when one trainee acted quickly to save the life of an Iraqi teenager.
On June 12th Ahmad Ghanim was returning home from his seventh day of the paramedics training course and stopped into a small clinic. There he found local medical personnel struggling to assist a 16 year-old boy who had been severely burned in a massive fire. The injuries from the fire were asphyxiating the young man and the clinic staff was not properly trained in emergency medicine. Mr. Ghanim, remembering his training, quickly took action to create an airway. Within seconds the patient was breathing again and stable enough to transport to the nearest hospital.
Dr. Gerald Evans, the Director of the Health Program in Iraq for International Medical Corps, said, “We’re training our paramedics in advanced life saving procedures that are obviously more sophisticated than is available to the average Iraqi physician.”
The day’s hero was grateful he had the skills to save the young man’s life saying, “God bless all who made these trainings possible.” His instructor, Dr. Kasim Marwan, said, “I wish you could have been there to watch the trainee’s face when he was telling the story, he was very happy and proud.”
Mr. Ghanim is one of 700 certified emergency medical technicians across Iraq who has graduated from the extensive course. These courses are unique to Iraq in that they provide an in-depth scientific curriculum, practical skill stations, significant supervision and oversight, and measured results.
Dr. Evans continued, “This course is not about just about the training, which is more comprehensive than anything ever done here before. It is about using these skills in the field. Mr. Ghanim is one of many graduates utilizing his training to save lives. We are lucky he was able to share his story.”
International Medical Corps has been working in Iraq for the past 6 years, creating sustainable initiatives focused on healthcare, humanitarian assistance, capacity building, and community engagement.