Project HOPE in Haiti, and its local partner, the Haitian Development Resource Foundation (HRDF) began a five-day instructor training course for layperson first responders in the southern coastal community of Aquin, three hours southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Composed of community members with previous prehospital care experience, from the Red Cross and Protection Civile, the course is designed to train instructors who will in turn provide one-day training courses for basic emergency care throughout the regional department, including among isolated communities who are far from available medical care.
The instructor training focuses on basic first aid for traumatic injuries – including life-threatening conditions such as an obstructed airway, uncontrolled hemorrhage and extremity fractures. Subsequent instructor courses will later expand to cover childbirth, cholera and other medical emergencies common in the rural areas.
“Training in basic emergency care is greatly needed in the provinces, as a lack of available trained prehospital care results in countless preventable deaths and disabilities each year,” says Dr. Mephisto Mathurín, Project HOPE’s Program Coordinator. “The entire community recognizes the need for emergency care, but they haven’t had many opportunities to develop their own response capabilities. This training is a great service to the community because this type of care can truly save lives, and it uses material that’s accessible to everyone.”
Alongside the emergency care training, Project HOPE and HRDF will also include other essential components in the instructor course such as safe patient movement and transfer techniques, the principles of safe transport and triage for multi-casualty incidents. Such incidents are a common occurrence along the rural roads and often involve large transport vehicles traveling at high speeds and typically carrying 30-40 people.
The training is being provided by Haitian instructors using materials developed by Project HOPE and St. John’s Ambulance, and is part of a larger community-based emergency care development program between HOPE and HRDF with approval from the Haitian Ministry of Health.
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