Ex­perts stress in­te­grated emer­gency care sys­tems in Pak­istan

Daily Messenger - - Metropolitan -

KARACHI: The Global Dis­ease Con­trol Pri­or­i­ties Project es­ti­mates that nearly half of deaths and over a third of dis­abil­ity in low and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries can be pre­vented by the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ef­fec­tive emer­gency care.

“The so­lu­tion is to es­tab­lish in­te­grated emer­gency and trauma care sys­tems with pre- and post-emer­gency de­part­ment care na­tion­wide,” said Dr Ju­naid Raz­zak, Di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Global Emer­gency Care and Pro­fes­sor of Emer­gency Medicine and In­ter­na­tional Health at the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity School of Medicine.

Dr Raz­zak was the key­note speaker at the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony of the Aga Khan Uni­ver­sity’s 21st Na­tional Health Sciences Re­search Sym­po­sium that is fo­cus­ing, this year, on ‘emer­gency care: time and life mat­ter’. He re­called how he played a vi­tal role in the estab­lish­ment of emer- gency medicine as a spe­cialty in Pak­istan and be­came the found­ing chair of the de­part­ment of emer­gency medicine at AKU – his alma mater – in 2008.

“Although Col­lege of Physi­cians and Sur­geons Pak­istan recog­nised emer­gency medicine as a spe­cialty in 2011, there are not more than nine qual­i­fied emer­gency medicine spe­cial­ists in the coun­try to­day. Stud­ies have also found sig­nif­i­cant gaps in the avail­abil­ity of es­sen­tial re­sources, ac­ces­si­bil­ity, pa­tient-cen­tric­ity and staff train­ing,” said Dr Raz­zak.

“This is an alarm­ing sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try with a pop­u­la­tion of over 220 mil­lion. The im­pact on sav­ing lives can only be achieved through a health sys­tem that is spon­sored by the state with sup­port from pub­lic and pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions.”

He stated that emer­gency care de­mands highly func­tional in­te­grated health sys­tem, and com­plex and prompt care de­ci­sions. “We need a multi-prong strat­egy: pre­dict the po­ten­tial path of emer­gency care de­vel­op­ment if we fol­low the tra­jec­tory fol­lowed by the high in­come, more de­vel­oped coun­tries; and ex­plore how new tech­nolo­gies such as telemedicine, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing can aug­ment and im­pact the fu­ture of emer­gency care in low re­source set­tings.”

He stressed that emer­gency de­part­ments should aim to pro­vide a safe, com­mit­ted, com­pas­sion­ate and car­ing ser­vice.

“AKU and other aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions in Pak­istan can play a sig­nif­i­cant role in de­vel­op­ing and test­ing in­no­va­tions for fu­tur­is­tic emer­gency care sys­tem,” he added.

The sec­ond key­note speaker was Dr Scott New­ton, a grad­u­ate of the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity’s Doc­tor of Nurs­ing Prac­tice pro­gramme and the vice pres­i­dent of Care Model So­lu­tions.

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