By: Jaya Vadlamudi, Senior Communications Officer, International Medical Corps
In keeping with our mission to build local capacity through training, International Medical Corps began conducting Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities in St. Lucia for local medical staff through a generous grant from Hess Corporation (HESS). The most recent CME series focused on Women’s Health Emergencies and was held over four days in late February with more than 150 local health workers in attendance.
Lecturing physicians from the US and UK, including Dr. Allen Dyer, Senior Health Advisor for International Medical Corps, Dr. Martin Olsen, Dr. Felicity Plaat and Dr. Charles Cox covered a variety of topics which were free to all attendees. Held at Palm Haven Hotel and St. Jude Hospital in Vieux Fort, the series was attended by local doctors, nurses, midwives, student midwives and medical school faculty as well as fire and rescue personnel.
Topics discussed included common obstetrical (O.B.) and gynecological (GYN) programs such as O.B. Emergencies, O.B. Anesthesia, Adolescent GYN, O.B. Trauma, Ectopic Pregnancy, Women’s Mental Health, O.B. Anesthesia and Neonatal Resuscitation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding, and Domestic Violence. The evidence-based curriculum used a variety of active adult learning models: lectures, case presentations, skill stations, scenario dramatizations and a critical appraisal of a scientific article. The sessions followed a “Training-of-Trainers” adult learning format so participants will be able to share their newfound knowledge and skills with other health workers. In addition, mannequins used in the training sessions were donated to St. Jude and Victoria Hospitals for use in future trainings.
To build the local workforce of accredited health workers in St. Lucia, CME/CPD credits were offered for participation in International Medical Corps’ CME series. International Medical Corps also held discussions with the St. Lucia Medical and Dental Council on principles for accreditation for future CME programs. Areas identified for future programs include emergency medicine, pediatrics, infectious disease, mental health and diagnostic imaging with an emphasis on ultrasound.
Following a fire that destroyed St. Jude Hospital in St. Lucia, International Medical Corps set up a temporary medical facility at the George Odlum National Sports Stadium through funding from HESS. We supported the interim medical ward throughout 2010 by equipping the facility with donated medicines, supplies and critical equipment, training hospital staff to strengthen local capacity and providing logistical support. In the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas, which devastated the island in November 2010, International Medical Corps immediately deployed emergency medical teams by boat to deliver drinking water and supplies to St. Jude. Within days after the hurricane, International Medical Corps expatriate consultants arrived on the island to assess damage at St. Jude as well as local schools, clinics and other hospitals. Based on the assessment team’s findings, International Medical Corps was awarded an additional grant to assist in the recovery efforts by Hess.
In alliance with National Emergency Management Organization and the Ministry of Health, International Medical Corps designed a program to provide ongoing assistance, revitalize existing health education programs in Saint Lucia as well as furnish numerous clinics and hospitals island-wide with essential medical supplies. Having laid the foundations for a comprehensive plan for CME programs at St. Jude as well as Disaster Risk Reduction programs, International Medical Corps hopes to continue its activities so the people of St. Lucia have access to fully accredited health care long-term.