Gov’t starts training emergency responders

from New Vision
Published on 14 Dec 2018 View Original

By Norah Mutesi

John Nambohe, the commissioner for emerging medical services at the health ministry said the they had so far trained 460 health workers in handling emergency cases.

Government has embarked on fresh training of health workers and volunteers to work as first responders during emergencies like epidemics and calamities.

The first responders will operate under existing health structures but will be deployed specifically to areas that either experience or are prone to disasters, the health ministry disclosed on Tuesday.

John Nambohe, the commissioner for emerging medical services at the health ministry said the they had so far trained 460 health workers in handling emergency cases.

“We are focusing on emergencies as an area of interest because of growing number of cases. We are losing so many mothers and children yet we could have saved them if we strengthened emergency care,” he said.

“Sometimes when you call for an ambulance, it will arrive with only a driver and no health worker nor equipment needed to save the patient’s life,” Nambohe said.

According to Nambohe, road accidents alone claim an average of 3,500 people annually and leave 12,000 more with injuries. One of the most recent accidents was in Kiryandongo when a bus accident killed over 25 people.

Last month, over 30 people perished in Lake Victoria after their boat stalled. Earlier in October, landslides in Bududa district claimed at least 38 lives and left dozens more badly injured.

Nambohe said recent fire accidents at schools and markets were also an area of concern that have prompted the health ministry to train people who will work as emergency responders.

Some of the districts where the medics will be deployed include: Kasese, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kampala and Wakiso, which have recently been prone to emergencies including floods, Nambohe explained.

Nambohe said under the new system, one group of first responders will work at community level as emergency medical first responders. This category will receive basic training of about two weeks to handle emergencies.

Their training covers basic resuscitation for people whose lives are in danger, for instance in ensuring that a victim’s airway is clear and they can breathe, the heart pumping and stopping bleeding. This group of responders will not necessarily be medical personnel, Nambohe said.

Some of the people who are undergoing this training include boda boda riders in Kampala, traffic and regular Police officers, army officers and ambulance teams.

The second level of responders is known as emergency care assistants who will undergo two year training at Rubaga Medical school.

Another group of responders known as emergency medical technicians are taking part in a two year training programme at Masaka and Mbarara regional referral hospitals.

According to Nambohe, the third class of responders is for in-service personnel including nurses and clinical officers and it will cover all health workers. So far, at least 460 health workers have undergone training.

Although medics may have the skills needed to treat people during emergency cases, Nambohe noted that some of them have an attitude problem which is being addressed through the training.

Dr. Joseph Kalanzi, one of the trainees at Makerere College of health sciences said eight of them are undergoing the training as specialists who will handle critical cases.

Under the new system, health facilities will set up committees that will ensure that at any time when they are called for an emergency, they are ready to go fully equipped.