NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (August 19, 2019) — Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health in the Ministry of Health on Nevis, told participants in a Mass Casualty Management System Training exercise that at the end of the one week course they should have a better understanding of their role in a unified response in the event of a mass casualty situation.
The Health official made the comment at the opening ceremony at the Nevis Disaster Management Department’s (NDMD) Emergency Management Centre at Long Point on August 19, 2019. The course is being held in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
“By the end of this course each agency will understand its role and understand the unified response. You would have sharpened your response skills, while effectively managing human and other resources when responding to a mass casualty incident. I guarantee you will enjoy this course, after having passed through it myself, even as you build your capacity.
“You will be exposed to a mixture of lectures, discussions and practical sessions. You will learn things such as triaging mass casualty incidents, coordinating transfer of patients to hospital, learn about the impacts of disasters, management of stress, radio communications just to name a few of the topics you will be covering. You will leave enthused,” she said.
Dr. Nisbett noted that the training exercise, which brings together health personnel, officers from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and the St. Kitts-Nevis Fire and Rescue Services and non-governmental agencies including restaurants and other volunteers, is strategic. She underscored the fact that mass casualty management requires both a health response and a multi sectorial approach.
She explained that the training is designed to build capacity of all agencies responding to mass casualty incidents.
“The Pan American Health Organisation Mass Casualty Management System was developed for island states such as ours which are small, at risk for isolation in disaster situations, have limited resources whether financial, human or material, and I’m sure you can relate. For instance we have only one hospital with only one operating theatre, limited skilled personnel, limited emergency response resources such as ambulances and limited supplies.
“We therefore appreciate we have to maximise existing resources and manpower to successfully manage any mass casualty event. All agencies present, we must work together helping each other to achieve their goals and ultimately saving lives and preventing disability, in other words, doing the greatest good for the greatest number of persons,” Dr. Nisbett said.
Meantime facilitator from Mr. Peter Burgess, PAHO’s Emergence Response Facilitator, told participants they should expect a rigorous training session.
“It will be a very intense course as you heard earlier from Dr. Nisbett and I expect that at the end we will foster better relationships, a more multi sectorial response and that we will be able to work together for the benefit of the country. When I conduct training I am very stern, and I am very serious about it because I have seen the benefits of having a mass casualty response…
“This is a very active, very physical course. It will not be like any course you would have done before. I guarantee that unless you were in the military or the police then you would know what I am talking about but I welcome all of you,” he said.
The training exercise comes on the heels of one held in St. Kitts last week.