Hospital facilitates ventilator handling workshop for frontline health workers

Health Watch

THE anaesthesia and intensive care (AIC) division of the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) conducted a two-day basic ventilator workshop to familiarise staff on how to use the instrument correctly.
The workshop which was held from April 9-10, was conducted for frontline health workers in the National Capital District who were looking after critically ill Covid-19 patients.
AIC coordinator Dr Arvin Karu said a ventilator played a vital role in an intensive care or critical care setting, thus, health workers had to be trained in using the equipment properly.
“The aim was to equip them with some basic knowledge on how to use the mechanical ventilators,” Dr Karu said.
“Many health facilities in NCD and in the country are receiving these machines but very few know how to use them adequately.”
He said the workshop was opened by PMGH chief executive officer Dr Paki Molumi and entailed lectures and discussions on the theory of mechanical ventilation. The second day was on practical skills required to operate the mechanical ventilator and clinical case discussions.
Dr Karu described the ventilator as a machine that was used to support the respiratory function of the body or life support machine. He said in instances where a patient’s breathing slowed, or was suppressed or stopped, the patient was connected to the ventilator which breathed for him or her.
“We keep them on this machine until the cause of respiratory failure is cured then we get them off the machine,” he said.
“How soon the patient comes off the ventilator depends on his or her illness.”
Dr Karu said his staff were stretched due to the Covid-19 pandemic because they were covering workstations in the main theatres, obstetrics and gynaecology theatre, the intensive care unit (ICU) and the Covid-19 ICU.
“Our doctors belong to a professional body called the Society of Anaesthetists of PNG through which we are collaborating with various stakeholders such as donor partners, Department of Health and PMGH, plus interested public health authorities to roll out ventilator workshops across the country,” Dr Karu said.
“The training workshop was the third in the country, of which the first was conducted for frontline health workers last November with the second workshop in March.”

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