Forty-five (45) residents from the north coast villages of Blanchisseuse & La Fillette will be the first cohort to benefit from a new pilot program to train residents in rural areas to become first responders in the event of medical emergencies or natural disasters in their communities.
The residents will be taught Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Basic Life Support (BLS) and other first responders’ skills and techniques by medical professionals from the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), as the authority moves to expand the community’s capacity to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.
Health Minister, Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh said the NCRHA’s Community Partnership 1st Response training will empower communities to quickly and effectively respond to health related incidents and will expand the country’s inherent capacity to treat with medical emergencies on a national level.
He said these kinds of projects improve the resilience of our communities by expanding medical knowledge, and by supporting the capacity of the health care system to protect citizens during and immediately after a disaster.
He said the program which will be launched at the Blanchisseuse Community Centre on Sunday, will be the first in a series of training exercises to empower individuals and communities across the country to aid their own and to do their part to save lives.
He further commended the NCRHA on the initiative, highlighting the importance of projects such as these, which encourage and enable members of the public to play more active roles in the provision of health care service.
Residents will be exposed to information through theory and practical sessions facilitated my doctors, nurses and specialist trainers from the Authority.
Among topics to be covered in the training program include:
Neck stabilization; airway opening manoeuvers; slings/splints/pressure bandages, transporting the badly wounded and treating drowning victims.
In supporting the project, NCRHA Chairman, Mr. Steve De Las expressed gratitude to the medical and support staff for their dedication to delivering quality health care by identifying the need for first responder training in our rural communities, and by volunteering to be a part of the solution. He also paid tribute to the NCRHA’s medical team for designing the innovative training program, which has clear tangible deliverables that will benefit communities far into the future.
“Health care starts with all of us. It is our responsibility, and this project expands the reach of the healthcare system to include our communities where the support is needed most,” he added. Mr. De Las congratulated the group of participants, applauding them for their willingness to partner with the NCRHA and to commit themselves to training in order to better serve their respective communities.
NCRHA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Davlin Thomas expressed his delight in facilitating the possibility of a health and wellness utopia within Blanchisseuse.
“Essentially we are creating another shift in the paradigm, to embolden and empower communities using the healthcare infrastructure,” he said.
Thomas noted that the NCRHA was improving the capacity and response of the health care system by actively engaging communities and by reaching out to those persons considered to be on the periphery of the system. They must understand that they are part of the system and when they fall ill or are impacted by an unexpected emergency, the entire system is affected and we all must respond together, he added.
“Through our systems approach to health care, we are now equipping residents in our communities who are already on site, to effectively respond to save lives as well. This cooperation and support from our communities have major implications for our emergency rooms, for general hospital throughput and for lessening the likelihood of health related incidents escalating into serious complications or casualties,” he added.
He said the Authority has taken a systems approach to delivering care by going deeper into the communities and tackling the needs of persons who are more vulnerable and are reluctant to access health care until their problems become chronic. By taking on these issues early, and by identifying and providing support for high risk patients early, we will be in a better position to address chronic problems or simple emergencies before they become critical.
“This modified first responder training compliments our ongoing programs such as ‘Walk-The-Talk,’ ‘In-Touch,’ ‘Ready for the Road,’ ‘Brother’s Keeper,’ and ‘The Great Pap Smear Campaign’ by allowing us to successfully combat the growing incidence of NCDs, the fight against cancer and other health related complications affecting our societies,” said Thomas.
We are building an interrelated system of healthcare projects that both empowers and reaches out to our communities to address issues where it can make the most impact in saving lives, while improving the resilience of the healthcare system to respond to any emergency, he added.