Emergency care in Pakistan suffers from critical gaps in both essential equipment and provider knowledge necessary for effective emergency and trauma care.  Those are the findings of a recent study undertaken in the country’s Sindh province by the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) in collaboration with colleagues at Aga Khan University’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

The study, “Emergency and trauma care in Pakistan: A cross-sectional study of healthcare levels,” published in Emergency Medicine Journal, used the World Health Organization’s (WHO) assessment protocols—the Guidelines for essential trauma care and the Prehospital care systems—to evaluate emergency and trauma care at different levels of health facilities in Pakistan. The study focused on two specific aspects: 1) infrastructure and essential equipment and supplies and 2): availability and knowledge of physicians providing emergency care.

The findings suggested that both facility-level equipment and supplies and human resource gaps exist in the current emergency care system in the country—gaps that are likely to compromise the level of emergency care—and point to the need for comprehensive reform of the emergency care system in the province of Sindh.  The study also provided a set of recommendations, which include increasing the investment in health provider training for acute care, providing facilities with low-cost commonly-used supplies such as bag valve masks and integrating improved emergency care protocols.

The study was partly supported by the NIH-Fogarty funded Johns Hopkins-Pakistan International Collaborative Trauma and Injury Research Training Program (JHU-Pakistan ICTIRT).

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