Srinagar: Kashmiri American Society of Healthcare, Medical Education and Research (KASHMER), is starting its most ambitious project for 2019 titled Emergency Medical Services (MES) in Kashmir on Thursday.
“This service is set to start end of July 2019. We are starting it as a pilot program in Srinagar with 2 critical care ambulances manned with paramedics/EMT personnel,” Nahida Nazir, MD, Healthcare Delivery, KASHMER, said in a statement.
“The control room or the central hub will be staffed by junior doctors to provide acute care en-route with triage to closest available emergency room”.
Nahida said that KASHMER has tied up with SAVE Heart Kashmir team along with their local partner HELP Foundation for starting the project.
KASHMER is a non-profit registered in the state of New York in 2016. It is a member based organization of physicians and allied healthcare personnel of Kashmiri origin in North America.
The vision of KASHMER is to provide a platform for these professionals to network , educate, mentor and mainly to give back to their native Kashmir in the healthcare sector.
Nahida said that their organization has been operational for the past three with their regulatory and structural obligations met in the Valley as well.
“KASHMER is inaugurating this service at SKICC, Srinagar on July 18, 2019 to be launched by Mr. Atal Dulloo, IAS Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Dept. Along with Dr Omar Javed Shah, Director SKIMS and other invitees, Principal/ Dean GMC – Dr. Parvaiz Shah, Director Health Services – Dr. Kunzes Dolma and Director General, Youth Services and Sports- Dr Saleem Ur Rahman,” she said.
She said EMS is non-existent in Kashmir while as of now, there has been no robust or quality care EMS available in the valley.
“This has a huge healthcare impact in Kashmir. There can be a significant delay in receiving emergency medical care as pre-hospital care is lacking. As a result, mortality and morbidity goes up drastically,” Nahid said.
“KASHMER is desirous of changing the transport vehicle concept of ambulances to lifesaving emergency medical transportation, and keen on having an evidence-based EMS driven by technology and trained personnel”.
She said that KASHMER plans to execute an EMS model that will deliver high-quality ambulance service in Kashmir initially in parts of Srinagar city to gain experience and gauge popular response.
“These services will be extended to the entire Srinagar district in different phases,” Nahida added.
She said that HELP and Save Heart Kashmir were their main ground partners.
“SAVE HEART is a group of young and passionate physicians who want to make a change in healthcare delivery in Kashmir and are known for using social media to get cardiac care to remote areas. HELP Foundation is a well respected organization with a huge body of work in the nonprofit sector,” Nahida said.
She said that backbone of the EMRS were well trained medical and paramedical staff.
“They will be BLS (Basic Life Support), and ACLS (Advanced Life Support),” Nahida said.
She said that an EMS phone number will be made available for access to the general public. People need to be educated about using this number for emergencies only and not regular healthcare advice.
KASHMER is well aware of the financial challenge of such healthcare operation, Nahida said.
“However almost non-existent EMS in Kashmir demands that such service should be provided to Kashmir and it will involve sacrifice on different fronts. Passionate members will contribute by donating their time, expertise and financial contributions. As of now, EMRS will be funded by KASHMER and KASHMIR well-wishers. EMS has gotten the attention of Kashmiris elsewhere in the world. We have reached to our Kashmiri friends and colleagues around the world as well to provide support for this project,” she said.
“Our projects conducted with support of our ground partner Help Poor Voluntary Trust Hpvt, and several operational partners, Al Imdaad and Boukvat. Include Hepatitis C treatment, several hemodialyses projects, mental health/ deaddiction, a district wise vision screening of school children, amongst others. We conduct annual camps as well -multispecialty, mental health, diabetes screening and others. We also engage in educational endeavors in the United States for our medical fraternity such as CME conferences held in Philadelphia in 2017, Washington DC and Los Angeles in 2018, and upcoming in Chicago for 2019,” Nahida added.