Improving mass casualty management in Tajikistan
The 18-month disaster preparedness project DIPECHO 7 of the European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) came to a close in Tajikistan with a series of triage courses for 30 emergency services staff that took place 26–28 November 2013 in Dushanbe.
The DIPECHO 7 project focused on capacity building in mass casualty management, including on-scene triage, care and transportation of patients in emergencies.
In February 2013, national training-of-trainers courses, sometimes combined with training of first-response skills, were conducted in 8 pilot districts in 4 regions of Tajikistan. In total, 475 professionals in the health sector, CoES and MIA received training through this project.
The project also procured 20 trauma kits for 9 pilot hospitals, and WHO ordered another 40 medical first responder (MFR) mass casualty incident (MCI) medical kits for fire stations and COES in these same pilot districts.
During the official handover ceremony of the kits for COES, Dr Pavel Ursu, WHO Representative in Tajikistan highlighted that: “Effective mass casualty management planning strengthens disaster preparedness for effective response through an all-hazard approach, enabling the health system and the overall response to more effectively and efficiently allocate resources to be able to save more lives, prevent more disabilities and ensure continued delivery of medical care”.
Improved mass casualty management (MCM) system
A mass casualty incident (MCI) is defined as an event which generates more patients at one time than locally available resources can manage using routine procedures. It requires exceptional emergency arrangements and additional or extraordinary assistance. A well-planned and practiced mass casualty management (MCM) system is based on an all-hazards approach, focusing on the need to provide life-saving care to injured disaster and emergency survivors.
MCM systems increase disaster readiness, thereby reducing overall risk to the population and health system from disaster. This has been accomplished in Tajikistan through a collaborative disaster (emergency) planning process involving the Ministry of Health, Committee of Emergency Situations (CoES) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) (fire and police departments) leading to development of an integrated (multi-agency) MCM Strategy, supported by a training curriculum and training and practical exercises.