Title

Availability and quality of prehospital care on pakistani interurban roads

Document Type

Article

Department

Emergency Medicine

Abstract

Interurban road crashes often result in severe Road Traffic Injuries (RTIs). Prehospital emergency care on interurban roads was rarely evaluated in the low- and middle-income countries. The study highlighted the availability and quality of prehospital care facilities on interurban roads in Pakistan, a low-income country. The study setting was a 592-km-long National highway in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Using the questionnaires adapted from the World Health Organization prehospital care guidelines [Sasser et al., 2005], managers and ambulance staff at the stations along highways were interviewed regarding the process of care, supplies in ambulances, and their experience of trauma care. Ambulance stations were either managed by the police or the Edhi Foundation (EF), a philanthropic organization. All highway stations were managed by the EF; the median distance between highway stations was 38 km (Interquartile Range [IQR]=27-46). We visited 14 stations, ten on the highway section, and four in cities, including two managed by the police. Most highway stations (n=13) received one RTI call per day. Half of stations (n=5) were inside highway towns, usually near primary or secondary-level healthcare facilities. Travel time to the nearest tertiary healthcare facility ranged from 31 to 70 minutes (median=48 minutes; IQR=30-60). Other shortcomings noted for stations were not triaging RTI cases (86%), informing hospitals (64%), or recording response times (57%). All ambulances (n=12) had stretchers, but only 58% had oxygen cylinders. The median schooling of ambulance staff (n=13) was 8 years (IQR=3-10), and the median paramedic training was 3 days (IQR=2-3). Observed shortcomings in prehospital care could be improved by public-private partnerships focusing on paramedic training, making available essential medical supplies, and linking ambulance stations with designated healthcare facilities for appropriate RTI triage.

Publication

Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine. Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Annual Scientific Conference

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