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Harbour Island gets medial responders
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Page 1 of 1Total of 1 messages
Posted by:Apr 25th 2005, 03:13:57 pm

By Gladstone Thurston, Bahamas Information Services

Dunmore Town, Harbour Island The health services here were augmented on Friday when thirteen residents including two police officers graduated with top honours in the Ministry of Health's medical first responders' project.

"This training represents another positive step in achieving our national goal of having a minimum of 40 trained medical first responders in every Family Island community," said Minister of Health Dr Marcus Bethel.

They were taught how to apply the emergency medical services system - initial assessments of patients, body examination, CPR, the nature of various illnesses and injuries, and child birthing.

"It was excellent," said valedictorian Douglas Lorey. "The course was great. It is nice to see a lot of people who can perform CPR and help people who are in trouble on Harbour Island.

"This first responder's programme is extremely important. It needs to happen in every community in the Bahamas. People everywhere get health problems. Thirteen medical first responders on this little island can make a huge difference."

The first responders' programme began six years ago, initially as a result of the limited member of doctors and nurses in the islands.

"We wanted to find a way to augment those services," said Paul Newbold, field director, National Emergency Medical Services.

"Since most of the islands are so long, we wanted to train about two persons per settlement totalling about 40 for each island.

"Harbour Island is smaller but we still trained 13 persons so that if a nurse is not readily available there should be someone nearby who could administer advanced first aid until the nurse or doctor arrives.

"Our main goal is to make sure there are acceptable quality medical services throughout the islands," Mr Newbold said.

The programme goes to Spanish Wells in May and North Eleuthera in June.

The passing out ceremony on the lawn of Administrator Alexander Flowers' colonial style residence here drew scores of well-wishers. The Harbour Island Youth Band entertained them.

Graduates were Flossiemae Bain, Lashay Bullard, Cathy Ross, Karen Catalyn, Woman Police Constable Tamika Clarke, Nadia Bullard, Cheryl Johnson, Kayla Davis, Shanna Johnson, Ian Ross, Jefferson Johnson, Douglas Lorey, and Police Constable Gerard Miller.

The project was run in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organisation and the World Health Organisation.

"This is an initiative that is going to take on increased importance and emphasis within the Ministry of Health throughout all our islands," said Dr Bethel.

"This will be a major step forward in bringing comfort and relief as needed to the residents of these far flung islands."

The programme is designed to maximize local emergency


response capability through the training of ordinary citizens who reside in the islands, Dr Bethel explained.

Additionally, the programme further enhances the attributes of Harbour Island, a favourite of international tourists, he said.

In the Bahamas, as in most industrialized and developing countries, said Minister Bethel, the prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases and injuries, as causes of morbidity and mortality, is increasing.

"Indeed, chronic non-communicable diseases such as diseases of the heart along with injuries are among the top five leading causes of death for both sexes in the Bahamas," said Dr Bethel.

"This emerging trend can be attributed to a great extent to urbanization, industrialization and other environmental and lifestyle factors.

"Also, in recent times, we have seen a significant increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents, trauma cases, acts of violence and drownings in our Family Islands.

"As this has been a trend that has caused great concern in the Ministry of Health. It therefore becomes apparent that we need to ensure that there is a co-ordinated response to these kinds of emergencies.

In the far-flung islands, he noted, oftentimes it is impossible to get the doctor or nurse to scene of a medical emergency timely.

"Hence, in the past few weeks, I have directed that Mr Newbold and his National Emergency Services step up their programme of bringing greater co-ordination to the emergency medical services throughout our nation," said Dr Bethel.

That would include being responsible for the co-ordination, training and the upkeep, maintenance and oversight of all emergency services throughout the populated islands.

"This will ensure that the people therefore receive the quality of care that they expect and which we are capable of delivering provided we are co-ordinated and properly funded."

For police officers Tamika Clarke and Gerard Miller taking the programme was a big plus. Oftentimes they are among the first on the scene of a medical emergency.

"Now we can actually assist in helping save a person's life before medical assistance arrives," said Ms Clarke. "I hope to take advantage of more courses they may offer to keep my skills sharpened."

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