Yemen: Dummy training and de-cluttering

20 April 2017

Hella Hultin is a surgeon from Sweden. She is currently on assignment with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Khameer, Yemen. Here she blogs about collaborating with her colleague to design better working methods in emergencies.

We are cleaning and training!

Ivonne, my anaesthetist colleague, and myself have started a training session for all doctors and nurses in the emergency department.

One evening, after experiencing a few emergency alarms where we frustratingly couldn't find equipment or help in the emergency room, we sat down and drew a plan for how it could work better. We also discussed how the emergency room could be organised, and how we all could work in the best way.

This kind of thing is not easy - we came to Yemen from the outside and are only here for a short time. We want to change a lot of things, and naturally this can be perceived very negatively.

We were a little worried when we cautiously put forward the proposals to our medical director - however, the reception was overwhelming!

Our hands were virtually free!

"We organised the whole emergency room with the help of our team." Photo: Hella Hultin/MSF

Last week we organised the whole emergency room with the help of our team: all emergency medications were put in one place, we organised a trolley per patient gurney with everything needed to start intravenous fluids and bandaging, and we moved out three large storage cabinets that just took up space.

It came out great - the ER is now very spacious and it really works!

We have also started training sessions in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, for one hour each afternoon. Four emergency doctors join us at a time.

This is something everyone's done before during their training, but it's useful to practise both team cooperation and technology for everything to work in emergency situations.

Using a dummy during our emergency training sessions. Photo: Hella Hultin / MSF

We have a dummy that we use during these lessons, and the emergency doctors get a fictitious scenario that they need to solve in a medically correct manner. They have to show all of the actions they would take using the dummy.

We thought maybe the enthusiasm for this would be moderate, but it soon became really popular. Some members of the team have already participated several times!