BRB 129

The Barbados Defense Force (BDF) achieved the verification of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the first International type 1 Fixed Emergency Medical Team (EMT), in the Caribbean. Being a team of military origin, it also became the first of its kind in the Americas to achieve this recognition from WHO.

The WHO verification process is a peer review of an EMTs capability to ensure that a medical team can provide internationally accepted minimum standards of safe clinical care in emergencies. Ten international experts, led by PAHO personnel, participated in the verification, evaluating the team’s procedures as well as assessing the skills and equipment necessary for the international deployment of a type 1 Fixed EMT.

The BDF EMT is capable to operate from a fixed structure, providing clinical care for up to 100 outpatients a day for seven days a week, with a wide range of health services that includes triage, first aid, stabilization and remission of serious injuries.

Since the beginning of 2018 PAHO, along with the assigned mentors, supported the BDF EMT in achieving this milestone. The mentoring team consisted of clinical and logistic experts from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund EMT, classified globally as EMT Type 1 and a surgical expert from Argentina.

As part of the pre-verification, the team deployed to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, participating in the "Tradewinds" regional exercise, conducted from 16 to 21 June, to test the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of their type 1 EMT.

The BDF EMT will be able to quickly respond in case of emergencies and disasters in the Caribbean and to deploy in time to meet the immediate health needs of the affected populations. This is the fourth EMT to receive this designation in the region of the Americas.