Paramedic and firefighting training. Life-saving equipment has arrived to Ethiopia

This past year, with the war in Ethiopia, was an intense time-period for the Polish Center for International Aid. We have trained the local medics and emergency services. ‘We conducted, in cooperation with Polish instructors from (i.e., Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM) a 6-course series’ – summed Aleksandra Mizerska, the project coordinator. ‘Four of those courses were on pre-hospital care, the rest on long-line rescue techniques’ – adds Adam Kukliński, responsible for the PCPM Ethiopian project coordination. ‘We have conducted this training in Bahir Dar, Auasa, Adama, and Addis Abeba’ – Kukliński explains. ‘What is important to realize is that during these training sessions outside the capital, Ethiopian instructors who also been through the training (in 2021) from Polish instructors previously trained their fellow Ethiopian trainees to become professionals. That is the goal of this project – to train the Ethiopian medical and firefighting staff to improve the training system and widen their qualifications in the future’ – Aleksandra Mizerska justified.

Throughout the past 12 months, we have also purchased top-of-the-line equipment. ‘Those are Ultrasounds, AEDs, and patient monitors. We used the purchased ropes, harnesses, pulleys, and carabiners to instruct for firefighters’ – the PCPM logistician continued. The firefighters developed their qualifications in the Ethiopian capital. ‘Part of them had previous experience from the field, but we started from fundamentals, to give more inexperienced trainees to learn basic knots, lowering or pull-up techniques’ – explained Kukliński, emphasizing that thanks to the newly-purchased equipment and learned skills, the capital firefighters came the most well-equipped active training unit in the country.

In 2022, the PCPM supported the local Emergency Medical Team (EMT) in training and equipping Ethiopian medics. As the PCPM Ethiopian project coordinator Aleksandra Mizerska points out, the PCPM Foundation President and the creator of the first and for now only Polish EMT certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) dr Wojciech Wilk conducted the training. ‘The president has outlined how our team works and where to start when creating this kind of unit from scratch’ – said the project coordinator. Furthermore, the Ethiopians had an opportunity to check their skills through practical tasks – i.e., field camp planning. ‘The trainees revised managing the electricity and water flow, what need to be where. The WHO asked us to support this newly established medical team in Ethiopia’ – Mizerska explained. As she stresses, the PCPM has supported the Ethiopian EMT with theoretical knowledge and equipment – ‘in 2021, we gave them hospital beds, stretchers, and a hospital tent. We will deliver a couple more tents by the end of this year’.

In November 2022, the PCPM hosted the Ethiopian Ministry of Health delegation. Our guests have seen the emergency control room, the Emergency Services County Headquarters, and the Emergency Medical Service Center in Addis Abeeba; they were hosts in the Polish Ministry of Health International Cooperation Bureau.

In addition, the delegation visited the PCPM-run MEDEVAC Hub Medical Transit Center in Jasionka near Rzeszow – the only one of its kind in Europe, created for the patient evacuation from Ukraine. ‘Ethiopians focused their attention on visiting the dispensary. I know the health service there is keen to have such a system working efficiently in the country, just like in Poland’ – Kuklinski assessed.

The upcoming year 2023 will be the last in the project for the PCPM Foundation to develop emergency medical services in Ethiopia. ‘Next year we are planning training sessions in more Ethiopian cities’ – Mizerska said. The Ethiopian Ministry of Health assumes that with the cooperation of the Polish Foundation, training will be able to construct in other crucial cities in Ethiopia.

Polish Development Assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland finances the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation project. The project budget is 5,991,490 PLN.

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