Last week 26 doctors, nurses and hospital administrators from 20 countries arrived at Rambam Health Care Campus
for a unique seminar. The two-week course, held in conjunction with Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a simple - and essential - goal: to share Rambam's rich experience and knowhow in treating trauma victims with medical personnel worldwide.
The course consists of lectures, workshops, simulations and tours, at Rambam and throughout Israel, designed to prepare attendees to build systems for treating victims of disaster - both natural and man-made - in their own countries.
This is the ninth annual course of its kind. Global interest continues to rise, along with the number of attendees. Countries that took part this year include Belarus, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
During the last three years, medical teams and Ministry of Health representatives from Bulgaria attended. Recently, their training took on a new significance, as a terrorist attack in the resort town of Burgas
claimed the lives of five Israelis, and injured dozens of others.
Rambam is northern Israel's only Level One trauma hospital. Thus, it treats the highest number of seriously injured patients in Israel - twice as many as any other medical center here.
"Rambam has had to learn from its experience, and care here is at the highest standards," said Dr Otilia Neves, who is overseeing the creation of the first trauma and emergency system in her country, Mozambique. "You can be proud of your system. I plan to urge more physicians from my country to come here for training."
"In Nepal, there are numerous sources of trauma. In recent years, a major cause has been terror, as the country has been in a state of political chaos. We must also deal with natural disasters like flash floods, landslides and avalanches," said Buland Thopa, an orthopedic surgeon from Kathmandu, Nepal, who is in charge of a new level-one 200-bed trauma center. "So much of what we learn here will help in our center."
Alice Bittah is a head nurse in the Kenyatta National Hospital Nairobi, which receives Kenya's most serious trauma cases. "We face great challenges from terror, accidents and other causes and Israel is known for its preparedness in the case of emergency incidents," she says. "I am learning things here that will help me to build a system that flows and strengthen our medical teams, and I enjoying every minute of it."
The international trauma course is just one example of activities held by Rambam's Teaching Center for Trauma, Emergency and Mass Casualty Situations, which offers wide-ranging programs both at Rambam and abroad. Designated a level one trauma facility, Rambam admits the most severely injured patients in times of natural disaster or war.
Currently, the hospital is constructing an underground emergency facility, which should be ready for operation in three months. There, some 2,000 patients can be absorbed, and in the case of chemical warfare, detoxified, treated and hospitalized.