“There is no substitute for preparation” – Deputy Chief Medical Officer

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DPI, Guyana, Thursday, February 15, 2018

The need for all agencies and stakeholders to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster or another mass emergency was stressed at a graduation held for persons completing training in Mass Casualty Management and Incident Command Systems.

Dr. Karen Boyle, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Public Health.

Speaking on behalf of the Public Health Minister, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Boyle stressed on the need for continued capacity building and overall preparedness of persons from a wide cross-section of society.

The hosting of Civil Defence Commission’s Mass Casualty Management (MCM) and Incident Command Systems (ICS) programme highlights the importance and emphasis being placed on disaster preparedness by the responsible agencies in Guyana.

Dr. Boyle praised the initiative noting that the programme is essential for the ongoing efforts by all concerned stakeholders to enhance the resiliency capacity of this nation.

Further, she indicated that “there is no substitute for preparation. The importance of public health strategies and the maximizing of the benefits for the community as a whole cannot be underestimated moreover, both clinical care and public health measures must be conducted in an integrated manner.”

In this regard, this programme which basically prepares agencies for the event of a disaster is timely and constitutes an effective solution in dealing with mass casualty disaster incidences, almost immediately.

Dr. Boyle noted, “emergency management otherwise known as disaster management, relates with the organisation and managers of resources and responsibilities to deal with all aspects of emergencies, in particular, the preparation, response and rehabilitation of affected communities”.

Some of those who participated in the Mass Casualty Management and Incident Command system programme offered by the Civil Defence Commission.

Emergency management, according to Dr. Boyle, involves plans, structures, and arrangements established to engage the efforts of government and voluntary private agencies in a comprehensive and coordinated way to address the entire spectrum of emergency needs.

Additionally, emergency plans must be well designed and properly tested. Together with the immediate response plans, they constitute and most effective solution to deal with the situation whether the lack of personnel and overall logistical strategies are presented.

The MCM and ICS courses focus primarily on practical exercises, giving trainees firsthand experiences to events of disasters and emergencies and allowing them to apply knowledge gained for which they will be graded and/or evaluated.

Being more practical in her remarks, Dr. Boyle said that “the three-way distribution of deaths from traumatic injuries shows that in order to reduce morbidity and mortality in the first hours following a disaster, local capacity and infrastructure management must be fully mobilised and strengthened to ensure the best results for severely wounded and traumatized victims”.

These two courses received funding and technical support from the government of Canada through the Canadian High Commission in Guyana and the Pan American World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO).

Representatives of these two key contributors were present at the graduation and reassured CDC and by extension the government of Guyana, about these and other ongoing programmes which address the country’s preparedness for natural and man-made disasters.

Dr. William Adu-Krow, PAHO/WHO’s representative in Guyana encouraged graduates to “Use knowledge gained in a productive manner…in health, we usually say ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’.”


By: Delicia Haynes


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