Training Nurses on Emergency Response Is Critical to Improving Global Health Outcomes
By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
Admist the backdrop of a global pandemic like COVID-19, it is difficult to imagine that many other global health issues persist. Not only is this true, but there are still many people and organizations continuing to address these issues while the world wrestles with creating a new “normal” post COVID-19.
The current pandemic has highlighted the critcal role that nurses play in attending to patients and administering critical care. It has also highlighted the need for adequate training to improve health outcomes.
Days prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., MedShare partnered with Global Health & Education Initiative (GHEI) to send a team of three volunteers to Tanzania. While there, they provided a two-week training for 12 emergency medicine nurses and other qualified health practitioners, covering all aspects of emergency medicine and life saving techniques.
GHEI is a New York-based NGO formed by professionals and volunteers running health care education projects worldwide. They aim to improve the quality of health care and education in underprivileged communities by supporting health care professionals and institutions as well as students pursuing their dream of education.
Their journey began in Bagamoyo, Tanzania in 2008 where the first project of the foundation was implemented. A local school was the first to support disadvantaged children in the area. Years later, they continue to provide education and medical care for children in disadvantaged communities, and MedShare is proud to partner with them in their efforts to elevate patient care.
Nurses are the largest group of health care workers in Africa. By adequately equipping nurses to identify, intervene and provide care in emergency situations, emergency health care systems can be strengthened. MedShare was able to equip the team with all of the necessary tools for the emergency medicine training, including:
- Ambu bags for adults, pediatric and neonates
- Laryngeal Mask Airways (LMAs): different sizes for intubation training
- Cervical collars for stabilizing trauma patients
- Adult and pediatric masks for nebulization
The training will equip the nurses to handle many of the critical cases seen throughout the country which include malaria, the leading cause of death in people over five in Tanzania, comprising 22% of all deaths, HIV/AIDS (17% of deaths), cardiovascular disease (11% of deaths), tuberculosis (5% of deaths), respiratory disease (4% of deaths), cancer (3% of deaths), and diabetes (2% of deaths). Additionally, late Cesarean sections are a significant cause of maternal mortality. The training provided by GHEI demonstrates that investing in the improvement of emergency nursing skills can have high impact results with low cost, and it will improve emergency care in Tanzania over the long term.
P.S. All three volunteers returned safely to the U.S. and completed the required quarantine period at home.