June 27, 2018, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – A project to establish Barbados’ first mobile hospital launched today on the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Barbados.
“As hurricane season in the Caribbean region approaches, it is vital that we are ready and prepared to support countries during a disaster,” said Dr Godfrey Xuereb, PAHO Representative in Barbados. “The mobile field hospital initiative aims to ensure that we can respond to emergencies in any part of the region in the shortest possible time.
Mobile hospital initiative in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
The project has two components. The first aims to compile a global roster of medical teams that can be deployed to emergencies affecting any part of the Region in the shortest possible time. The second is a joint effort between the Barbados Defence Force, the Ministry of Health of Barbados and PAHO with the establishment of the first mobile field hospital in Barbados and the eastern Caribbean. The main function of the field hospital will be to treat patients on the spot or to stabilize those patients who need to be transferred to higher-level services. This emergency care service can accommodate at least 100 people per day, which will not only ease the load from the main hospital but will also provide additional space when dealing with mass casualties or a national emergency. The Emergency Medical Team can be self-sufficient for at least two weeks, the minimum expected mobilization period.
In his remarks at the launch of the hospital, Barbados’ Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon Lt. Col. Jefferey Bostic said that Barbados was strengthening its safety and security measures, while being able to assist its neighbours. He also emphasized that the medical facility would not be “sitting idle” and called on coporate Barbados to contribute to the project’s expansion.
PAHO’s EMT initiative has been instrumental in the swift deployment of experts following disasters in the Americas and has also contributed effectively similar responses by the World Health Organization (WHO) all over the World.
Over the past 50 years PAHO has been responding to the emergency needs of the Caribbean, be it after volcanic eruptions, floods and mud slides and, more frequently, hurricanes. As weather patterns have changed over the past few years, the response to natural disasters has become an even more important part of the work that PAHO carries out in the Caribbean.