Photo by: Pioter Fliter/Rambam Medical Center
Indonesians study Israeli mass catastrophe system
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Five medical experts from Indonesia are graduating from a course at Haifa's Medical Center on coping with catastrophes.
Five medical experts from Indonesia are graduating Thursday from a course at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center on coping with natural and man-made catastrophes.
They are among a group of 27 physicians and nurses from 17 countries taking part in a simulated mass casualty event (MCE).
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country, but it has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Rambam management said the simulation is part of the eighth course of its kind, being held from November 6 through the end of this week. It is jointly sponsored by Rambam, the Foreign Ministry and the Health Ministry.
Rambam's staffers are experts in trauma, emergency and mass casualty situations due to being the main hospital in the North. For years, the hospital has received soldiers injured on the northern border and beyond, as well as civilians caught in home-front wars and terrorist attacks.
"In the course, we learn how to build a system for operating in emergency, trauma and MCE. We did not come to seek medical information, but guidance on how to get organized in case of these situations," said neurology professor Andi Asadul Islam, from Hassan Udim University in Makassar, Indonesia. "Rambam's system for trauma is the best there is, and we can learn a lot from it."
The group will receive their diplomas at the ceremony at Rambam.
"We don't have a good system," Islam continued. Indonesia's broad geography presents specific challenges in supplying medical care, he explained. With some 250 million citizens scattered among five large islands and thousands of smaller ones, Indonesia spans an area, from west to east, equal to the length of the US.
Rambam also houses the only trauma system in the North, serving nine general hospitals who cannot take care of severe-trauma patients. The hospital's Teaching Center for Trauma, Emergency and Mass Casualty Situations leads instruction in this field nationwide and regularly holds international seminars for doctors and nurses from around the world. The center also sends representatives to different countries to teach courses and holds workshops for NATO personnel.
"I had heard about the Rambam course from colleagues who had taken it, and they said it was great," said Asti Puspita Rini, who manages the 118 Emergency Ambulance Service Foundation in Jakarta, the capital. "It has been an excellent course... We won't be able to implement each and every thing we learned but will certainly adopt parts of the program."
The course involves theoretical lectures and enables participants to receive a wide view of the activities of the various emergency medicine units. They also visit IDF simulation centers and Magen David Adom headquarters.
The foreign participants are also taken to national and tourist sites, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
"As a Muslim, it was especially interesting for me to see the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem," said Islam. "Some of my friends and family were afraid and didn't want me to come here because of what they see on TV," said Rini, "but it's totally different than what the media show."
They were also introduced to humous.
"Everything is well-organized and perfect," said Dr. Edi Prasetyo, medical adviser on home care in Jakarta. "We get to see the big picture – how the whole nationwide system works."
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