Ethiopian Nurses Practice EMT Skills with CJTF-HOA
Nurses of the Dil Chora Hospital in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, attended the first week-long emergency medical technician (EMT) course, October 15, 2010.
The course is a partnership between Dr. Manyazewal Dessie, senior orthopedic surgeon at Dil Chora Hospital, soldiers of the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, Charlie Company, and Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 (NMCB 7).
The curriculum for the 23 students, approved by the hospital to meet their standards, consisted of basic life saving skills, blood and shock management, patient movement, respiratory and cardiovascular emergencies, and defibrillation. The primary focus of the week was the hands-on practice of cardiovascular pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as well as patient and trauma assessment.
"[The course] emphasized how simple maneuvers or just attempting CPR can decrease the amount of casualties that are suffered at the hospital," said Petty Officer 1st Class Heather Watts, a SeaBee with NMCB 7. "It's not until we go back and review the basics… that they come back to us and helps us remember proper technique."
The Ethiopian Ministry of Health has designated the Dil Chora Hospital as its future control and command center for area emergencies. With automobile accidents on the rise as the leading cause of trauma, more nurses will need to be confident in EMT maneuvers.
"The gap that these nurses have is handling trauma cases," said Dr. Manyazewal Dessie. "In Ethiopia it is customary to wait for the diagnosis of the senior doctor before any treatment starts."
Manyazewal continued to explain that the "golden hour" in the U.S., the time between when a patient is found and when the patient arrives at a medical facility, is 6 to 8 hours in Ethiopia due to difficulties in transportation. The case becomes complicated by the time a doctor can see the patient and give the nurses direction. If the nurses utilize EMT techniques with confidence, the patient can be stabilized the moment they arrive in the general surgical ward, in the absence of the senior doctor.
"This course will help us start treatment as the patient arrives," said Mihret Getachew, a 5-year surgery ward coordinator. "If the patient starts to gasp, we will have more hope because we now know what we can do."
"I appreciate these topics," said Dessie. "It will greatly help the quality of care in this hospital."
The nurses marked the end of the course with a coffee ceremony for the U.S. lecturers.