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News | Dec. 13, 2013

Joint Task Force-Bravo supports pediatric disaster training for Honduran emergency responders

By U.S. Army Sgt. Courtney Kreft Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL) partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to host members of the Honduran Ministry of Health, the Honduran Red Cross, local first responders, the Honduran Pediatrics Association, and the Permanente Contingency Commission of Honduras (COPECO, Honduran version of FEMA) in the first of a two-part American Academy of Pediatric Disaster "Train the Trainer" course here, Dec. 11-13.

"This project has been in the works for more than eight years and is finally coming to fruition," said U.S. Army Captain Jason Stahl, the officer in charge of the pediatric course. "The main concept of the course is a 'Train the Trainer' course for members of the Honduran Academy of Pediatrics, the Honduran Red Cross, Honduran first responders, and members from COPECO in the planning for and care of pediatric populations post disaster."

The AAP provided two instructors from the United States, two instructors from Mexico, and one instructor from Honduras for the course. The training focused on preventative medicine, planning and triage, pediatric trauma, diarrhea and dehydration, infections, nutrition and malnourishment, management and exposure to toxic substances, delivery and care of newborns, and the emotional impact of disasters on children and families.

"It is very interesting. I am a clinical pediatrician and take care of one patient at a time and this training teaches us how to take care of a lot of people," said Dr. Claudia Calix, a Honduran Ministry of Health pediatrician at Hospital Juan Manuel Galvez in Gracias, Lempira. "It teaches us what to do in a mass casualty situation. There are several things we do differently in mass casualty situations, including the importance of triage."

Dr. Carlos Vides, one of the instructors, has been working on achieving this training in Honduras since he attended the course himself in Guatemala in 2005. Dr. Vides coordinated with U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Lougee, one of the instructors for the course in 2005, to bring the training to Honduras.

"I had never taken part in any training for children, and Honduras has a lot of disasters, but does not have a policy on how to take care of children," said Dr. Vides. "I felt there was a need. My goal is to create a group of trainers to expand to locations throughout the country and have a standard for hospitals and rescue teams on how to triage patients and standard protocols."

The purpose of this course is to improve the host nation disaster preparedness concerning pediatric populations, prepare course attendees to run their own Pediatric Disaster Course to increase partner nation disaster response capability, and facilitate private organization and nongovernmental organization cooperation and training.