Many countries envy the ambulance service in Germany. Even though there are undoubtedly possibilities for optimisation, in most cases its level is far above that of other countries. Bernd Fertig, paramedic and EMS manager, is sure of this. And he should know. Bernd has dedicated himself to improving the emergency rescue service in Peru and Bolivia for more than 35 years. "A good emergency rescue system is not a privilege just for wealthy countries, but the basis of every health system", he says. "For me it is a human right."
Bernd Fertig, who has more than 45 years of experience in the emergency services and in air rescue, would like to bring the rescue service in the two South American countries up to the German and Northern European level. It is an immense task that the German has set himself. A main concern he has is the training of rescue workers. It is therefore his goal to build a competence centre for emergency medical rescue services and air rescue in Peru and other Andean countries. The organizational heart of his project beats in Callao, the region in which the international airport of Lima is also located. The headquarters of the competence centre are located here, with the support of the Peruvian Air Force FAP.
One can only imagine that such a task costs a lot of money. 32.5 million people live in Peru, 8.5 million of them in the region around the capital Lima. The rest of the country, which is three to four times the size of Germany, is rather sparsely populated. Peru is a so-called emerging country, i.e. no longer a developing country, but still very far from being considered wealthy.
Before Bernd Fertig could start training the first rescue specialists, he had to find funding. As the former head of the emergency medical service and managing director of various organizations, he is familiar with dealing with authorities and administrations. In Germany, he found what he was looking for in donors. He garnered interest from the German Investment Corporation (DEG) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). As well as overseeing and advising the project, they also finance part of it. On the Peruvian side, the air force, emergency management, the national health ministry, the fi re service and other rescue organizations are on board.
For Germany, Fertig's project not only provides the possibility of being perceived in the Andes as one of the countries with the best rescue system in the world, but there is also an opportunity for long-term political and economic contacts. The companies partnering the project – Airbus Helicopters, corpuls and MedDV. They can use the competence centre as a platform to present their high quality products.
The competence centre was preceded by a report (SEMP 2020) that examined the organization of the emergency service in the country. Off the back of this, a planning requirement for emergency service facilities was developed, the required qualifications for medical staff was determined and medical directors were trained as part of a master’s program.
In addition, politicians and heads of emergency service institutions, for example, were informed about the value of an air rescue system in Peru. And last but not least, Bernd Fertig succeeded in motivating the decision-makers to support the project. As a result, the Peruvian media reported regularly about the German involvement in their country and the concepts for optimising the rescue services in their country.
“From an economic point of view, the emergency service is unfortunately an area that is underestimated by many governments”, said Bernd Fertig. “Serious accidents and disability particularly affect young people under 40 in developing countries. Therefore, a good emergency service can not only save those affected, but also protect the lives of families and prevent them from sliding into poverty."
Fertig has estimated three years for the launch and establishment of his project. He is ready to devote himself to the business. The competence centre currently has three types of helicopters available for primary and secondary missions: a BO 105 LS, BELL 212 and BELL 412 and, if required, an MI 17 for large-scale missions.
“We use telemedical systems for our missions to document all data and to inform the clinics about the current condition of our patients”, Bernd Fertig explains. He adds with pride: "We rely on corpuls.mission and the Nida-System from MedDV."
The primary goal of the competence centre is the training of emergency service personnel. In addition, certified courses in Covid-19 therapy are also offered. This is intended to improve acute care over the long term. This offer is aimed at emergency specialists from all organizations as well as physicians and nurses in clinical emergency departments.
"We would like our competence centre to contribute to the establishment of additional air rescue bases primarily in Peru and Bolivia", summarizes Bernd Fertig. "If requested, we would be happy to advise and support those responsible in organizing the process using consistent and reliable standards."
Bernd Fertig would effectively like "his" centre to act as a lighthouse that shows all other Andean countries the way. "It can help improve communication and cooperation between the countries and those involved in the field", he hopes. Better triage and primary care can help to reduce the number of victims, especially after major incidents.
In order to strengthen the network of air rescue bases in Peru, a non-profit organization is currently being founded under the name ISAR (SIRED). All public and private institutions relevant to the emergency services participate in this association. Their tasks will also include reporting and management of operations.
“The company will also have an Assistance System,” explains Bernd Fertig. “It will support people in need in clarifying and solving their problems, for example tourists or the relatives of missing persons.” The embassies will also be involved. There will be a centre staffed around the clock that those seeking help can turn to. "This centre will work closely with the central emergency control centre for all aid and rescue organizations, which is also currently being set up."
In order to ensure the medical-specialist quality of the training and further education, the competence centre cooperates with the University Nacional Mayor San Marcos (UNMSM). The centre is a branch of the medical faculty and has its own paramedic and flight paramedic school. Bernd Fertig holds a visiting professorship at the university and is currently building a faculty for emergency services there.
The school has, among other things, a patient simulation centre and a flight simulator. "In addition to full-scale simulators from Gaumard and Ambu, we mainly use corpuls simulations", says Bernd Fertig. This system can be combined with any patient simulator as well as used for simulations on living people.
Using the menu on the display, the trainer can transfer all monitoring data to the corpuls3 interface within corpuls simulation. This means, simulations can also be run in which the "patient" can respond. This so-called hybrid simulation offers a wide range of options to realistically program simulations. "Especially with trauma patients, we can combine made-up injuries, communication with the patient and modifiable vital parameters very effectively", says Fertig enthusiastically.
In this aspect Peru is already on a level comparable to Germany. The rest should only be a matter of time.