A community based first responder system providing free care to traffic injury victims
Project start date : 23/11/2014
Beneficiary country : Bangladesh
About the project
Last updated in September 2023
The service formally began operations on 23 November 2014 on a 14 km stretch of the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway and, in its first five years, expanded to a total of 135 km of coverage on three major highways. Every call to the service has received a response, and volunteers have arrived at the crash scene within 5 minutes in 87% of cases. The majority of their patients are young men, who are often family breadwinners, so the benefits of the program extend far beyond the patients themselves, also impacting all their family and the people who rely on them.
When the operators receive a call they determine where the crash occurred and how many people have been injured. As soon as this information is entered into their custom designed call center software, the computer automatically generates text messages to volunteers closest to the crash scene. This leaves the operator free to call Police and Fire Services as needed.
Locally sourced first aid supplies are provided and maintained by TraumaLink, and stored in locations that can be accessed 24 hours a day. First responders are supervised by paid full-time field staff, who provide local support and quality control as well as a vital link between the central office in Dhaka and the communities served. After patients are treated at the crash scene, operators make a rough assessment of the severity of injuries based on information from the first responders. Volunteers then use this information in taking patients to the nearest hospital that can provide an appropriate level of care for their injuries.
Many of the dangers and challenges facing Bangladeshi road users are found throughout the developing world. TraumaLink has therefore developed a simple, low cost, and easily scalable model that utilizes resources available in most LMICs. This program can be expanded throughout Bangladesh and also adapted for other developing nations facing similar challenges.
Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are a rapidly growing epidemic throughout the developing world but often get less recognition and attention than other healthcare challenges. Bangladesh is one of the nations hardest hit by the RTI epidemic, but lacks a dedicated prehospital emergency medical system, meaning that traffic injury victims often have little or no access to skilled first aid when it can be most effective.
To address this need, carefully selected men and women from the local community receive one full day of training on basic trauma first aid from a Bangladeshi physician-trainer. The classes combine didactics with a strong emphasis on hands-on learning, and class size is limited to 15 students to ensure individual attention for all participants. The curriculum focuses on the basics of trauma first aid, safe patient transport, and mass casualty triage with an emphasis on skills that are easy to teach, learn, and perform but also life-saving.
Thoughout the widespread and rapidly growing use of mobile technology in Bangladesh give a powerful tool for organizing volunteer emergency services,to provide guidance, education, and first aid supplies in particular.
Since launching Traumalink, over 5 000 people have benefited from the project and over 3 000 incidents have been reported. The 950 volunteers participating in the programme now cover two thirds of the highway leading to India’s second biggest city New Delhi. By next year, the project aims to cover all its 250km. Traumalink did not stop during the covid-19 global pandemic.
9 Full-Time equivalents
1 Service providers
Number of beneficiaries since launch