Surgical capacity building in Ukraine

A team of healthcare professionals from the Centre for Global Surgery at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) recently returned from a surgical capacity building trip in Odessa, Ukraine. This was the third time that members from the Centre had traveled to Ukraine having  been to Donetsk in 2012 to help develop a disaster preparedness plan for the UEFA Euro 2012.

From July 13-17, 2015, two nurses and two trauma surgeons from the CGS provided Basic Life Support (BLS) and Trauma Team Training (TTT) courses to 26 nursing and medical staff from various hospitals in Odessa at the request of local healthcare leadership. The aim was to equip these professionals with the knowledge and skills required to respond to cardiac and trauma emergencies. In the context of the current conflict in eastern Ukraine, an effective trauma system is needed more than ever in order to help communities handle trauma and other health emergencies.

CGS team members with the graduates of the Trauma Team Training

CGS team members with the graduates of the Trauma Team Training

The training course was a collaborative initiative through contacts at the Odessa National Medical University (ONMU) and was supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The BLS course was taught over one day and featured an interactive workshop as well as simulations and hands-on practice on mannequins. The TTT course was taught over a three days period and included a didactic component as well as skills workshops, team building exercises, simulation and case studies.

Participants appreciated having a venue where they could reflect on how practices differed based on settings and exchange ideas with health care professionals from another country. Many participants also emphasized that trauma courses were becoming more and more crucial due to the growing number of injuries as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Overall, they were extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this training and recommended expanding the program to the entire country.

Written by: Nadine Demko