Short Course

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

During our first full day in Cochabamba, Tuesday the 7th, A Tu Lado received a broad tour of Mano a Mano’s (MAM) various branches.

Having already met with Mano a Mano Apoyo Aereo when we arrived on Monday, we spent Tuesday visiting with MAM Bolivia and MAM Nuevo Mundo. The former is the branch in charge of the organization’s 130 medical clinics and 44 schools that they have built. They also run “health promoter” education programs in the Andes where their villages are primarily located. We visited one medical clinic and one school near Cochabamba, both of which drastically improved the communities’ abilities to meet health and education needs.

Nuevo Mundo builds roads, reservoirs and completes other large-scale infrastructure projects that allow communities to connect to markets, grow food, and thrive. With the organization’s director and chief engineer, we visited one of their nearby dams that serves some 800 families.

Today, Wednesday the 8th, A Tu Lado coordinated an afternoon of training for Mano a Mano volunteers and SAR Bolivia (Search and Rescue), a volunteer EMS service in Cochabamba, who will serve as EMTs in Apoyo Aereo’s evacuation services. It was a brief introduction for these individuals to the full-length training program we will launch in June. The curricula included a presentation on flight physiology, presented by Mary Ann McNeil, who has over 25 years of experience as a flight paramedic; airway adjunct training, including King Airway; backboarding, patient assessment & extrication; intubation of cow trachea and disection of cow hearts and lungs to cover basic anatomy; and intraosseous training conducted on turkey legs.

In the debrief following the course, many participats expressed that the material was completely new to them. In fact, none had practiced intraosseous infusion or the King Airway, which would both be very valuable to the care providers for MAM’s evacuations. We’ll definitely include these and many more elements into the fuller program we launch in June.

Tomorrow we are going to the Beni, the Amazon region north of Cochabamba, to visit two villages that are typical areas where MAM conducts its evacuations. We’re meeting with community leaders and previous patients of MAM that were evacuated for emergency treatment. The trip will help us understand the context from which the patients come. It will also give us an idea of the training that we must provide for community members from these villages.

The training we’re planning for June will not only include an EMT level for individuals from Cochabamba who will provide care in the air during evacuations, but also basic first responder training for community members from the rural villages from which the patients come. They will be responsible for identifying critical patients, transporting them to the runway, and serving as a translator and patient advocate. Our trip tomorrow will be a key piece to understanding the rural context and developing appropriate curricula.

More photos soon.