Ukraine: Training in emergency medicine as soon as possible

The European Society of Emergency Medicine is preparing videos to urgently train Ukrainian health workers. The project is a collaboration with the WHO Academy.

Interview with Dr. Khoury, President of EUSEM

Article translated from the original French version

Abdo Khoury is a French emergency medicine physician. Since 2020, he has been the president of the European Society for Emergency Medicine, EUSEM. EUSEM brings together 36 national emergency medicine societies, including the Ukrainian society, ARCEM (All-Ukrainian Resuscitation Council and Emergency Medicine).

Dr. Khoury, which news can you tell us about the ongoing situation in Ukraine?

We are following the situation very closely. We had three meetings with our Kiev-based colleagues from ARCEM this week. Already on 25 February, EUSEM publicly expressed its support for Ukrainian emergency physicians and then condemned the fact that health professionals are being targeted.

How can the EUSEM help physicians on the ground?

We are an learning society. Our role is not to send staff or equipment. So we do what we are good at: We provide, as quickly as possible, the crucial knowledge that our emergency and non-emergency medical colleagues need in the field.

EUSEM is working with the WHO, by way of its academy, to prepare one-minute educational videos for health workers in the field in the event of an emergency. How do you deal with a mass influx of casualties? How do you set up a triage? How do you designate areas for casualties who can walk and those who cannot? How do you apply a tourniquet? How do you treat a pneumothorax? We answer these questions with fairly short instructional videos.

"The main aim is efficiency: Our colleagues in Ukraine should be able to learn quickly without having to spend hours surfing YouTube."

Dr. Abdo Khoury

The main aim is efficiency: Our colleagues in Ukraine should be able to learn quickly without having to spend hours surfing YouTube. Above all, we want to make the videos available for download so that they can access them even in bomb shelters or when the internet is interrupted.

We are working tirelessly to produce these videos so that we can put the first ones online within eight days. If necessary, we will provide the videos with links to sources of information deemed reliable by EUSEM. These videos will be open source and will be compiled on the WHO Academy website. Of course, EUSEM will do this free of charge and leave all copyrights to the WHO.

What is the WHO Academy?

This academy will be the WHO's "training centre", so to speak. The buildings, located in Lyon, France, will be completed in 2024, but training is already taking place. EUSEM will be a partner.

The WHO Academy will be a unique training platform for all global health actors. The aim is for WHO recommendations to be implemented more quickly on the ground. These trainings will be mostly distance learning and will rely heavily on artificial intelligence, virtual reality and simulations.

One of the academy's first projects was to develop a training programme on the topic of mass casualty surges in emergency departments. How can an emergency department, regardless of the country and resources, cope with a sudden influx of casualties? The challenge is to provide a model that can be replicated anywhere in the world. The teaching teams are made up of physicians and nurses.

This training is face-to-face training. It has already been offered in a dozen countries, including Turkey, Armenia, Belgium and Greece. A course is currently running in Qatar to prepare hospitals for incidents during the football World Cup. The videos we are preparing for Ukrainian colleagues are summaries of the modules of this course.


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2. WHO Academy