Trauma Management

The Trauma Management Program (TMP) was initiated to care for victims of conflict-related trauma, especially injuries arising from landmines and attacks by Burmese soldiers. In 2001, KDHW had conceived of a “Flying Surgical Team Program” to send trained medic teams on foot quickly to the sites of injured victims. The victims could be resuscitated and life saving procedures could be performed. The medics could then transport the victims to a referral clinic for further care.

KDHW requested that Global Health Access Program (GHAP) help in the development of a training program to teach health workers such skills. In 2002, volunteer physicians from GHAP designed and implemented a trauma management training workshop, consisting of four days with lectures, role playing, hands-on workshops with simulated models, and a surgical lab. A total of twenty such workshops have been given to date by GHAP, including basic and advanced courses as well as “train the trainers” courses. Courses have been taught inside Karen State by the medics themselves to other health workers. GHAP’s course has been taught to health workers from multiple ethnic groups from Burma, not just the Karen in Karen State.

In 2004, GHAP designed the first GHAP back pack for medic team supplies. This project evolved into a complete trauma and blood transfusion inventory and budget.

By 2010 there were 17 TMP teams of two persons each deployed in Karen State, of which six teams had blood transfusion capability.

As an extension of the Trauma Management Program, a Village First Helper Program (VFHP) was started by KDHW to train local village members to approach and manage trauma victims until the arrival of the trauma teams.

Since 2004 the trauma teams have been collecting and reporting data on major trauma victims. In 2010 the combination of the TMP, the VFHP, and rapid communication translated into a landmine injury survival rate of 92% and a gunshot wound survival rate of 93% for victims that survive until trauma teams arrive. The data presented in the chart below represent the number of victims reached by the trauma teams, not the total number of injuries. The total numbers of landmine and gunshot injuries occurring annually in Karen State are not known.

Trauma Numbers and Survival Rates by Year

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Victim receives treatment from health care workers.

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