Antigua and Barbuda, February 23, 2023 (PAHO) – Within the framework of the COVID-19 Incident Management System for the emergency declared in 2020 by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Antigua and Barbuda took its first steps to develop its Emergency Medical Team (EMT) to respond to health emergencies and contingencies at the national and eventually regional level.
On February 6, PAHO/WHO officially handover to Dr. Vonetta George, EMT National Focal Point, and Lieutenant Carla Thomas Browne, Military Focal Point in Antigua and Barbuda, the donation of one water supply kit, one waste management kit, and one medical imaging kit with radiology and ultrasound capability to improve the country’s operational support and diagnostic imaging capacity.
During the handover, Dr. Vonetta highlighted the importance that “EMTs must be self-sufficient, meaning that they need to stand on their own, responding to a disaster without taking anything away from the country where you are responding”.
Following the handover, there was a five-day practical theoretical training that included a workshop on Introduction to operational support in water, sanitation, and hygiene for mobile hospitals and training in the assembly, setting up, operation, and maintenance of the kits. Operational support and health personnel from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Environment, and the Defence Force, participated in the training.
Next steps will be the strengthening of the EMT as a type 1 fixed with a joint team of the Ministry of Health and the Defence Force, which will provide urgent ambulatory care and stabilize patients with severe trauma and medical emergencies during disasters and pandemics, supporting local health service networks.
The donation of the kits and training has been possible thanks to the financial support from the U.S. and German governments. These, along with other contributions, including a hospitalization module donated by SOUTHCOM, bring the national EMT closer to achieve the global EMT standards defined in the Blue Book.
Find out more about EMTs: https://www.paho.org/en/health-emergencies/emergency-medical-teams