From 4-15 June 2018, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) conducted four sessions of its Improvised Medical Techniques (IMT) training course for UNFICYP’s military and police personnel. Each session stretches over two-and-a-half days and aims at equipping all participants with skills to respond to a medical emergency in the absence of a first aid kit or a well-stocked trauma bag.
While the sessions contain some theoretical elements, the focus is on hands-on, practical training, which builds on the participants’ existing medical knowledge and first aid skills.
Upon completion of the course, participants are expected to be able to provide immediate medical care to an injured person in an emergency situation and stabilize them until professional medical help is available. The course coaches participants on a variety of life-saving skills and techniques, including, assessing the scene of an emergency; identifying patients; using primary and secondary surveys to scan for signs of life and injuries; delivering CPR and performing airway management procedures as well as utilizing items that can substitute for medical equipment from the nearby environment. It should be noted, though, that these techniques are not intended to be final medical treatment or a substitute for professional medical intervention.
Derek Somers, the UNMAS Medical Coordinator in South Sudan, is the Lead Trainer for the IMT programme and a trained paramedic. “For peacekeepers across the world, being prepared to deal with unexpected events and emergencies has increasingly become a necessity,” stated Mr. Somers. “This is why the IMT course is such an important learning tool,” he added.
In July 2016, UNMAS became an integral component of UNFICYP, providing dedicated expertise in mine action planning and coordination, demining capacity (2016-17), quality assurance oversight and data management for mine action information. UNMAS also provides assistance to the Committee on Missing Persons to ensure safe access to areas it conducts activities in and technical guidance to UNFICYP for small arms ammunition management.