The World Health Organization tasked the global health community to address the lack of emergency care in low- and middle-income countries through Resolution 60.22. Little progress has yet been made in integrating emergency care into most low- and middle-income-country health systems. At a rural Ugandan district hospital, however, a collaborative between GECC and local and national stakeholders has implemented an innovative emergency care training program. To our knowledge, this is the first description of using task shifting in general hospital-based emergency care through creation of a new non-physician clinician cadre, the emergency care practitioner.
The program provides an example of how emergency care can be practically implemented in low-resource settings in which physician numbers are limited. The Ministry of Health is directing its integration into the national health care system as a component of a larger ongoing effort to develop a tiered emergency care system (out-of-hospital, clinic- and hospital-based provider and physician trainings) in Uganda. This tiered emergency care system is an example of a horizontal health system advancement that offers a potentially attractive solution to meet the mandate of WHO 60.22 by providing inexpensive educational interventions that can make emergency care truly accessible to the rural and urban communities of low- and middle-income countries.
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