As one of the poorest regions of Haiti, prehospital emergency care in the North East is often inaccessible. While an Emergency Medical Service is under development in the region, its use is not yet widespread. One barrier to use is the limited ability of ambulances to access remote areas with incomplete road infrastructure.
EMEDEX International is an organization whose mission is to advance emergency care. It seeks to do this through locally relevant programs aimed at improving communities’ skills and knowledge in emergency care. Previous work by EMEDEX in the region has identified that most sick and injured individuals present to the hospital either on foot or via motorcycle taxi. Through EMEDEX-supported community member-led training, motorcycle drivers and taxi drivers have been taught locally adapted first responder skills. Since being trained in these skills, 20% of the drivers have reported transporting individuals in need to healthcare facilities.
In partnership with the North East Ministry of Health and the local Emergency Medical Services (EMS), EMEDEX International will engage the existing cadre of previously trained drivers to become an identifiable, community-based first responder force. These drivers will be dispatched via the regional call center and will coordinate with the EMS service to get seriously ill or injured people to the hospital via ambulance.
By building capacity within communities to handle medical emergencies and to access the help that is available, EMEDEX International plans to improve prehospital emergency care.