A five-day Mass Casualty Management (MCM) workshop, funded by the Pan American Health Organisation, during the period 11 - 16 October, has been a main focus in Anguilla at Masara Resort, Katouche, with a number of participants drawn from key departments in the public sector in attendance.
Mr. Lynrod Brooks, who chaired the opening ceremony, noted that emergencies and crises, stemming from various disasters, had become more frequent in recent times, especially in middle and low income countries. He observed that this had led to disruption of healthcare programmes and essential services and slowing the process of sustainable human development. He concluded that many lives could have been saved if affected communities were better prepared with response systems already in place. He stated that the overall concept of the mass casualty management workshop was to train the participants to be involved in a community response to a large-scale disaster.
The PAHO Consultant/Mass Casualty Trainer, Mr. Delwin Ferguson, stressed the importance for everyone in the various sectors, and in the community, to be properly educated as it related to mass casualty management. He noted that while disaster responders from outside Anguilla would provide assistance, it was in fact the people of the island who were expected to do most of the work, and so it was up to them to get their own island prepared. He coined the phrase that the Caribbean was “a beautiful place in the wrong spot.” He further stated that the Caribbean was classified as one of the world’s most disaster-prone regions. This was due in part to volcanoes, numerous hurricanes as well as earthquakes such as this year’s massive one in Haiti, where there was tremendous loss of life.
Mr. Delwin Ferguson, the PAHO consultant, Mrs. Serene Carter-Davis, Chief Nursing Officer/Director Quality Assurance, and Steve McDowall, Senior Emergency Medical Technician were the main facilitators for the workshop. The training sessions from Monday morning, to Friday afternoon, included various mass casualty management exercises, group discussions and presentations.