Posted by: calloftheandes | June 14, 2016

Medical Conference Prepares for Ecuadorian Disaster Yet Unseen

jornadas2Themed “The Challenge of Emergency and Disaster” the 28th Jornadas Médicas (Medical Conference) in Ecuador preceded by less than two months a 7.8-magitude earthquake that left some 660 people dead and thousands wounded. Hundreds of buildings in two provinces were also flattened, including a hospital in the coastal province of Manabí.
Reach Beyond’s Hospital Vozandes co-sponsored the event, along with other institutions, including Ecuador’s Ministerio de Salud Publica (Ministry of Public Health or MSP).
This year’s event was held February 22-26 at Reach Beyond facilities in Quito. In April and May, the killer quake struck Ecuador’s coastal area. Within days, the first HVQ medical team was dispatched and subsequently additional teams saw to the medical, psychological and spiritual needs of quake victims. The medical teams went out at the invitation of the MSP.
An annual event, Jornadas is considered the core academic event of HVQ, which in June celebrated an anniversary of the founding of its medical education program. A paramedic at the 2016 conference, José Luis Paguay, said learned enough in the first few days of the conference to begin applying to his weekend shift in pre-hospital triage and transport work at a hospital in Quininde. He also found useful a talk on hypertension, a common ailment of Ecuadorians.
Three-hundred-sixty medical professionals attended the conference, according to Dr. José Luis Recalde, an event organizer and the director of medical education at HVQ. “A great portion of attendees came from Quito obviously,” he said. “However, because of favorable attention, we also had people from the coast—from [the provinces of] Manabí and from Guayas.”

Dr. José Luis Recalde hands out examinations at the 2016 Jornadas Médicas in Quito, Ecuador.

Dr. José Luis Recalde hands out examinations at the 2016 Jornadas Médicas in Quito, Ecuador.

Recalde said the 2016 event differed from earlier Jornadas in at least two ways. First, an examination on the final day explored how much they took away from the conference. “An examination was requested by those working in the public sector because there’s going to be a Ministerio de Salud Publica standard for those attending conferences,” Recalde offered, “It would help them to upgrade their resume.” Voluntary, the exam drew participation from half of the conferees and of those, half scored 7 of 10 or higher “so that was good,” he added.

And second, this year’s five-day event was not distributed via satellite across Ecuador as were past conferences. “Unfortunately our coalition member for satellite release—the distance learning–the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Technical University in Loja)—had to leave the event because they changed their organization,” Recalde said. “We hope that in the future they can return to participate, because that was a valuable contribution.”

“What I would have liked,” said Paguay, “would have been additional practical work. The study is great; the theory is perfect, but what we also need is a bit more of the practice, because medicine is done by direct contact with a patient.” Recalde said that he and the Jornadas organizing committee increased from 20 to 30 the number of workshops.

Darrell Holden (front, wearing cap) at a workshop on the equipment and management of an ambulance.

Darrell Holden (front, wearing cap) at a workshop on the equipment and management of an ambulance.

A Reach Beyond paramedic, Darrel Holden, attended one such workshop in which ambulatory work’s history, its uses and best practices were explained and shown via a Powerpoint presentation. Afterwards, the group of attendees scrunched into the back of an ambulance to listen as the vehicle’s medical equipment features were detailed by an HVQ ambulance driver. After the devastating April 16 earthquake, Holden accompanied Drs. Guevara and Trina Wisecup as well as team leader, Hermann Schirmacher, to the coastal provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabí, where they attended to hundreds of patients.

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