Poles are training emergency services in Tanzania. The Polish Aid flagship program implemented by PCPM in Africa

The new project by the PCPM Foundation focuses on supporting the emergency medicine sector in the Dar es Salaam region, Tanzania’s largest city. The PCPM Foundation will equip the emergency medical system with equipment, but most importantly, it will conduct numerous training courses to improve the quality of emergency responders’ operations.

By the end of 2022, we will purchase a mannequin set and training aids for teaching emergency medicine to medics for a training center at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam. We will train medical instructors in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Primary Trauma Care (PTC).

According to the latest WHO data, 18,054 die in road accidents in Tanzania each year(accounting for 6.12% of all deaths). The death rate is close to 50 people per 100,000 population, ranking Tanzania 10th in the world. That’s why first aid training for witnesses to the events began as early as November 28. Our three instructors – firefighters from Kenya, whom we prepared to conduct such training. The practices were a part of the PCPM Foundation’s multi-year program, along with two instructors from the Aga Khan Hospital*, conducting three first aid pieces of training for witnesses to road accidents.

We address training to firefighters, scouts, and paramedics. The officers are often the first on the scene. Furthermore, the survival of accident victims depends on them. The training was at the training center at the Aga Khan Hospital. Sixty people total have received training from the PCPM Foundation through November 30.

– ‘The Polish Center for International Aid combines two unique capabilities. On the one hand, we are the largest non-governmental development aid organization in Poland – we specialize in supporting the capacity of emergency services in East Africa and the Middle East. On the other hand, PCPM manages one of the 32 in the world and the only World Health Organization (WHO)-certified Emergency Medical Team (EMT) in Poland. The PCPM’s EMT is also part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. By combining these two capabilities, we can work hand in hand with Tanzanian medical personnel, and the responders on improving the quality of emergency service care’ – said Dr. Wojciech Wilk, president of the Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM, at the project’s inaugural conference.

There were a lot of speakers at the ceremony, for example – the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland – Krzysztof Buzalski, Dr. Erasto Sylvanus – emergency medicine coordinator from the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Dr. Sisawo Konteh – Head of Aga Khan Health Services Tanzania, and, Dr. Sherin Kassamali, head of the emergency department at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam. She stressed the importance of the training provided by the PCPM and the tremendous importance of the assistance provided by the paramedic.

– The project plans to train more than 120 members of the emergency services, who are often the first on the scene. One thousand healthcare workers provide quality emergency care. Sixty future instructors whose training has already begun, Dr. Sherin Kassamali said at the conference.

On December 5, two PCPM instructors (a firefighter from Kenya and a paramedic from Poland), along with Tanzanian instructors, will conduct a 4-day training course for instructors in Primary Trauma Care.

Twenty medics will attend the training session. Thanks to the training, the medics will become qualified to conduct a course in Primary Trauma Care in the future and, as part of the PCPM Foundation’s project, will design the training themselves in the next two years. 

With this in mind, on December 12, a PCPM expert (paramedic) will conduct a certified ToT BLS training, along with a local instructor from the Aga Khan Hospital. ToT (Training of Trainers) involves a new trainee watching an experienced trainer teach and perform the exercises. The trainee then goes on to practice training others. BLS (Basic Life Support) is a series of steps that, without medical equipment usage, can sustain the life of a victim. The main goal is keeping the airway open and maintaining breathing and circulation.

Ten medics (from Aga Khan facilities and government facilities participating in the project) will attend the training by PCPM. After completing the course the medics will become qualified to teach the BLS course in the future and, as part of the PCPM Foundation project, will already conduct such training on their own in the next 2 years. What’s important to realize is that the training is certified by the AHA (American Heart Association). This is a non-profit organization from the US, that supports several projects related to cardiovascular research, cardiac care, and many other initiatives.

The project in Tanzania will last until December 2024. We will use medical equipment purchased under the Polish Aid project during training. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland covered the initiative’s cost from its development funds for PLN 4,923,722.

*Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) is one of three AKDN (Aga Khan Development Network) agencies that support activities in health, alongside the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan University.

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