Trauma experts forge partnership with Lankan EMS workers
Oregon emergency health experts will share their expertise with 11
Sri Lankan fire and rescue workers this month-implementing a
one-of-a-kind educational exchange between Sri Lanka and Oregon.
The Sri Lankan delegates, who arrive in Oregon today, include staff
from Medical Teams International’s Sri Lanka office, the country’s
Trauma Secretariat leader, its National EMS Advisor and firefighters
Several Oregon and Washington first responders have already trained
these fire and rescue workers to save lives in Sri Lanka through Medical
Teams International’s in-country EMS programme, which began in 2006.
These same men, in turn, have taught hundreds of other Sri Lankan
emergency personnel to respond appropriately to disasters, traumas and
other injuries. Now, they’ll take the next step to ensure their Sri
Lankan communities have the best emergency services possible.
US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake recently recognised the
groundbreaking work of Medical Teams International’s staff and
volunteers in Sri Lanka, citing the lifesaving training that will serve
the country for generations to come.
The Sri Lanka visit is part of an EMS Educational Exchange programme
sponsored by Medical Teams International. Volunteers with the agency,
including firefighters/paramedics from several Oregon-based agencies,
have trained hundreds of Sri Lankan firefighters, police and hospital
workers in pre-hospital emergency care.
The exchange is the latest project in a nationwide initiative by the
Portland-based aid agency to bring emergency medical services to all Sri
The Sri Lankans will also meet with leaders from the State of
Oregon’s Health Services EMS and Trauma section, who sent several staff
members to Sri Lanka in 2007.
As part of its EMS curriculum, Medical Teams International published
an international textbook for pre-hospital care in 2005. Produced
internationally in eight languages, the 700-page textbook is the only
comprehensive manual translated for both Sinhala- and Tamil-speaking Sri
“This training will make a lifesaving difference for millions of Sri
Lankans nearly the entire nation,” explains Paul Bollinger, emergency
medical services senior advisor at Medical Teams International.
“Our delegates will take these new skills back to Sri Lanka where
they will instruct hundreds of other trauma workers in the country. The
impact of this exchange will bear fruit for years to come.”