Why We Are Doing This...
Field trauma care is very limited in Dajabon and the surrounding Province. Four years ago, the only ambulances available were private (most people cannot afford them) or the 2 damaged units owned by the Fire Department and the Red Cross. Few, if any ambulance drivers were trained to provide even the simplest first aid to a patient and when they could, many things were improvised as there were no supplies.
There was no system to dispatch the limited resources they had other than to call the local radio station and have them put out an announcement that there was an accident and people needed help. If someone was in a serious vehicle accident or otherwise needed urgent transport to the hospital, they would have to rely on the radio announcement or find someone with a moto or a car to drive them. All too regularly, in Dajabon and other areas like it, Dominicans with severe trauma bleed to death in the back of pick-up trucks on the way to hospital.
Over the course of many Waves medical missions, we heard of this happening and the lives that were lost. During the April 2012 mission, the right combination of Waves volunteers came together. After carefully assessing local capabilities, talking to local partners, seeing patients who’ve suffered, and listening to stories about those who did not survive, two Waves volunteers, Neel Mehta and John Koerner, decided together to do something about it. At that moment, the Waves of Health programOperation EMS: Dajabon was born.