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Ann Emerg Med. 1998 Sep;32(3 Pt 1):373-6.

Emergency care in Namibia.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7594, USA.


Namibia is a sparsely populated nation in southwest Africa. A state-run health service provides care to most of the population. The geography and population distribution dictate the delivery systems for prehospital and emergency care. A state-run ambulance service provides basic patient transportation to the state-run hospitals. There is no 911 system. Two private aeromedical companies in Namibia provide the full range of ground and aeromedical treatment, diver rescue, and helicopter and fixed-wing transport services. The scope of care includes cricothyrotomies, chest tubes, and rapid-sequence intubation. Equipment is modern and virtually identical to what is used in the United States. There are no emergency physicians in Namibia. General medical officers are the backbone of the state-run health service. General medical officers assigned to cover the ED are called casualty officers. No specialized training beyond internship is required, and assignments to casualty are viewed as temporary until better positions become available. Only the largest state hospital in the capital has a dedicated, 24-hour emergency staff. The private prehospital care/transport systems are well organized and sophisticated. Formal efforts should be undertaken to develop ties with our colleagues in Namibia. Potential areas for collaboration include injury surveillance and prevention, field trauma resuscitation, and prehospital care.

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