With the help of Polish Aid funds, the Polish Centre for International Aid (PCPM) foundation has been carrying out a number of development projects in Palestine for nine years now. One of PCPM initiatives involves strengthening the emergency rescue system. These activities complement the reforms that have been carried out by the Palestinian Ministry of Health for several years in emergency medical services.
The reforms aim to structure the medical services market and the working arrangements of paramedics and other pre-hospital care medical personnel. An important part of the reform is also to increase the quality of delivered medical services. Supported by Polish Aid, PCPM experts are currently involved in the preparation of regulations that define the powers and working arrangements of paramedics and the systems of their continuing education.
Paramedics in Palestine
Saving lives and helping ill and injured persons is the daily work of paramedics. Investment in improving their professional qualifications is of great importance for the life and health of the Palestinian people. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is responsible for medical emergency services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The organisation was established in 1968 and from the start has been a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In addition to emergency medical operations, the PRCS also provides first aid training. It provides assistance to disabled people and psychological support for children and adults.
Polish-Palestinian cooperation has led to the establishment of Palestine’s first upskilling course, which is the next step in the basic training of medical responders and modelled on the Polish Development Course for Paramedics. The course programme was specifically tailored to the needs and expectations of Palestinian paramedics. For this purpose, Polish experts — members of the PCPM’s Polish Emergency Medical Team — used information obtained when they were on ambulance duty together with their Palestinian colleagues at 16 ambulance stations across the West Bank.
Polish paramedics also act as trainers preparing the PRCS’s future training staff. Held in October 2019, the first edition of the upskilling course for PRCS emergency responders was at the same time an instructor course for future trainers. They will be taking over in subsequent course editions. These are people who have already taken a series of courses on the teaching methodology during which they have learnt the guidelines for teaching trainees using medical scenarios.
In parallel to the above activities, Polish experts also provide specialist training in pre-hospital care and psychological assistance for the Rapid Response and Rescue Team (RRRT) of the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA). The RRRT are emergency responders and doctors who take part in international rescue and assistance operations at the request of other countries, for instance, when affected by natural disasters.
It is worth mentioning that the PCPM provides medical equipment for nearly 100 ambulances, the admissions unit at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, and the PICA RRRT. In September, the PCPM in partnership with the PRCS launched training in first aid for the civilian population living in small towns in the so-called Area C which cannot always be reached by ambulance in time. Equipped with first-aid kits by the PCPM, the participants will be able to provide even more efficient assistance when needed. All these measures aim at a sustainable improvement of Palestine’s emergency medical services and of the quality of assistance delivered to those in need.
Based on a PCPM article, “Supporting emergency medical services in Palestine.”