Emergency Medical Teams require more than just recognition

They work around the clock to ensure all distress calls are attended to

In Summary

• President Kenyatta recognised their efforts during last week's Mashujaa fete in Mombasa. 

• They are not recognised in the health system which creates hardships in their work. 

Kisumu International Airport emergency response team attends to a victim of a plane crash
WORK AROUND THE CLOCK: Kisumu International Airport emergency response team attends to a victim of a plane crash

During the Mashujaa Day celebrations last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta recognised the selfless efforts of emergency medical technicians and paramedics who work ambulances around the clock in a distress situation.

This echoed a great motivation for humanitarian service providers. However, it’s unimaginable that there is no single policy in place to guide the operations of emergency medical care in Kenya. Organisations that offer the services solely rely on their standard operating procedures.

After the 1998 bomb attack in Nairobi when the practice of emergency medical services began in Kenya, we’ve witnessed great development in that sector. Ambulances are no longer just vehicles of transporting the injured but are now able to take care of critically ill patients, some are actually fixed with a medical ventilator (life support machine).

Under the operation of trained emergency technicians, they are able to sustain life and evacuate Kenyans for advanced care in time of need. Emergency Medical Technicians still remain unrecognised under the Kenya health system creating operational hardships that include taking long hours in handing over patients in some hospitals; both public and private.

The World Bank indicates that the implementation of effective, prioritised and timely emergency care has the potential to address 45 per cent of deaths and 36 per cent of disability in low- and middle-income countries.

This makes it imperative for the Health ministry to accelerate the development of the implementation framework and launch the emergency medical care policy whose development President Kenyatta appreciated during the 2019 St John Ambulance annual parade.