International Medical Corps, through the Disaster Risk Reduction program funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), carried out its first Essential Trauma Care (ETC) course in Jacmel, Haiti on August 16th at St. Michell Hospital, a public hospital under the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP). This initial training provided both didactic and practical training for seven physicians and one nurse.
After specifically assessing the situation in Haiti, the ETC course curriculum was adapted to the local environment by expert Emergency Physicians, Dr Ross Donaldson and Dr. Daniel Khodabakhsh from University of California, Los Angeles. Consistent with World Health Organization guidelines for ETC, International Medical Corps taught participants low-cost, realistic methods for immediately treating serious injuries.
International Medical Corps’ initial needs assessment found that the main public hospital in Jacmel, St. Michell, did not have a surgical specialist available 24-hours a day and that its general practitioners, who initially see the majority of seriously injured patients, had limited training in emergency trauma care. Simple life-saving measures, such as ventilating, intubation, surgical airway, and needle thoracostomy were unused. Although the equipment needed for these interventions was available, the ETC class participants did not know how to perform the techniques prior to the class and the equipment had been relegated to a storage closet.
International Medical Corps physicians led the trainees through the two half-day trainings. By defining necessary resources and focusing on human capacity, International Medical Corps seeks to decrease death and disability from injury in Haiti. Pre and post-tests indicated a 300% increase in ETC knowledge. The trainees, eager to learn proper technique, stayed beyond the training hours to practice on the International Medical Corps provided mannequins, and requested further training on a variety of topics related to Emergency Medicine.
This ETC training was the first of many scheduled under the Disaster Risk and Reduction program, funded by ECHO. The ETC training course is the initial portion of an integrated approach to Emergency Medicine, called the Emergency Medical Care Development (EMCD) program, that International Medical Corps has a long and successful history of implementing in low and middle-income countries, most recently in Iraq and Kurdistan.
Funded in other regions by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), United Nations Office for Provider Services (UNOPS), the World Bank, and other donors, International Medical Corps’ EMCD program integrates up-to-date injury and emergency care for health care workers, ranging from pre-hospital providers to nurses and physicians.