The idea is to provide prompt and proper emergency care to all, especially for our middle and lower classes for whom availing emergency care is difficult and sometimes just impossible, says Dr Navin Shah, former president, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin
Dr Navin Shah, former president, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, and the catalyst behind setting up of trauma centres and emergency medical services in Maharashtra, wants to replicate this template in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Before presiding over the seminar on EMS at the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit, held in conjunction with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, he told Rediff.com, “I will present my work in EMS and trauma centers in Maharashtra, which is based on the US model with needed modifications-reflecting the local expertise, infrastructure and available medical facilities. Our Maharashtra programme’s information and experience may help improve the Gujarat service.”
Noting that India had one of the highest accident mortality rates in the world, where some 1,000 people died daily in accidents, he said, “The more physicians and the public are aware of the services, the more patients will be benefited. This is what I intend to disseminate at the AAPI global summit.”
Shah said he had also been granted a meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi: “This will give me an opportunity to provide him with a brief of the Maharashtra trauma centre and EMS, which could be cloned in Gujarat. The US has 350 trauma centres and five decades of experience in trauma care. It is this expertise which we brought to bear in Maharashtra, which we can also bring to Gujarat.”
The EMS and trauma centre that came to Maharashtra last year were the result of a decade of efforts, Shah said, outlining the achievements of the project. In June 2013, he led a delegation of American trauma surgeons and infectious disease specialists who provided a two-day training in trauma care to over 100 hundred surgeons, selected by the government from across Maharashtra. The Maharashtra government and the Shock Trauma Centre in Baltimore also signed a collaboration agreement for training of surgeons and other professionals in research, continuing medical education programs, exchange programs and other related areas.
He said, “We have two fully paid scholarships -- one by shock trauma centre in Baltimore and the other by WakeForest trauma centre -- to invite two Maharashtra surgeons to the US for training. We have 10 US trauma experts, many of whom are professors of surgery, ready to visit India to train Maharashtra trauma surgeons and create institutional affiliations on an ongoing format.”
He added, “The government of India has provided some $200 million for this project to create 47 trauma centres and avail the state with 927 ambulances -- 75 percent will be basic and 25 per cent will have advance facilities.”
Shah said he would try to convince Modi to green light similar projects in Gujarat. The US institutions, he said, “stand ready to sign a collaborative agreement in Gujarat too.”
Shah will meet Maharashtra officials January 13 to discuss, and hopefully finalise, the program for EMS and trauma care, infectious disease specialty training and the US-India physicians exchange programme.
The government “has gone into action after all these years and the health ministry has appointed Dr Damodar Bachani to be a nodal official for these projects,” he said. “Our endeavour will be to create services in which, like in the US, the patient is reached in a couple of minutes and treated on the spot and during the transport under the direction of a receiving doctor. The patient is then taken to the right hospital where needed facilities and expertise are ready to treat the patient with superior outcome.”
Citing that the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore -- the programme’s US partner -- has a patient morality rate of 5 per cent, he said, “This is what we would like cultivate in our Maharashtra program and then hopefully replicate it in Gujarat.”
He added, “The central command and communication center is already established for the entire state (Maharashtra) in Pune with GPS services and I have submitted a three-year plan to cover the entire state with services utilising US collaboration.”
Shah also planned to meet with India’s health secretary and other senior officials in New Delhi for a centralised and standardised training program for the EMS and trauma care: “I have on the anvil other US trauma centres who would like to have associations and collaborations with the Indian trauma centers so as to continually keep up with the state-of-art practices. The basic idea is to provide prompt and proper emergency care to all, especially for our middle and lower classes for whom availing emergency care is difficult and sometimes just impossible.”
Image: Dr Navin Shah, former president, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
Photograph: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com