July 26, 2016 08:00 ET
EDMONTON, AB --(Marketwired - July 26, 2016) - A novel partnership fostered by Canadian not-for-profit Innovative Canadians for Change (ICChange) is making Kenya a regional hub for trauma education in East Africa by bringing Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) to the region. The courses, which took place from July 11th - 15th in Nairobi at the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) compound, were the first Kenyan-led provider and instructor courses aimed at developing a local cadre of practitioners and trainers.
Injury makes up 10% of the world's deaths; 90% of those occur in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Trauma education is an important factor in improving outcomes and decreasing mortality. The American College of Surgeons' (ACS) Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS®) course is the recognized global standard for systematic assessment and resuscitation of the injured patient, but its promulgation is lengthy, costly, and requires significant organizational and administrative support to ensure its sustainability.
Weaving in experts from multiple countries from universities, hospitals, private sector, and not-for-profit organizations, ICChange has been working with the KRCS, a leader in pre-hospital care and emergency and disaster response, as well as the Surgical Society of Kenya (SSK) to ensure this course is well prepared and successful to meet the rigorous standards of the ACS.
"This will be the start of a major change in trauma care in Kenya and the start of a real overall trauma system," says Professor Inger Schipper, ATLS Region 15 chair. "This true international effort would not have worked without the help of many parties and people. Red Cross Kenya, ICChange, and the ACS have been of organization and financial help. […] Overall we look back on a very successful and rewarding promulgation process, with promising results, that certainly will help improve trauma care in Kenya."
ICChange has worked to find novel and innovative ways to minimize the costs of bringing this course to LMICs and ensure its sustainability and far reaching accessibility. One of the ways that ICChange has decreased costs is by introducing simulators made in emerging markets that are more affordable and easier to replace. Another way is by aligning partners like the KRCS with already-existing facilities that can support this multi-day course and decrease the recurrent expenses of administering the program. "Getting 'everything' from logistics to faculty and meeting the requirements as stipulated […] proved to be a full time occupation for the preceding six months," says Judith Apondo, the ATLS Course Coordinator and Principal at the Kenya Red Cross Training School, thanking the partners involved for their continued support. "For me, it has been a very, very fulfilling experience."
The ATLS program officially began in Kenya in 2013 with a formal application from the SSK to the ACS with financial, administrative, and technical support from ICChange and KRCS as part of tripartite collaboration. Partner contributions of experts, equipment, and financial support from Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Alberta have been critical to the success of this initiative. To date, educators and instructors from the ACS have participated from six countries in this important initiative. "We are proud to have participate[d] in this team effort, we are proud to see our new Kenyan friends becoming ATLS instructors," says Professor Gerry Gomez, a trauma surgeon from Indiana University who was a key partner in this promulgation.
"We want to see this ATLS program become an important and sustainable part of strengthening the skills and also the leadership of the surgeons and physicians who take care of the injured patients in Kenya," says Abdullah Saleh, a surgeon and the Founder and Chief Executive Director of ICChange. "We are looking for financial support and partners to continue to expand this initiative and to reach more people across other countries."
About Innovative Canadians for Change (ICChange)
Innovative Canadians for Change (ICChange) is an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization focusing on local and international development initiatives. As a unique and cutting-edge organization with the principles and operating structure of a social enterprise, ICChange seeks to redefine the conventional notions of development, charity, and aide.
The mission of ICChange is to improve the quality of life and security of vulnerable populations worldwide by implementing successful global initiatives based on sustainable and scalable models and systems.