Prioritizing the very sick is imperative given the long queues of patients waiting to receive medical attention in hospitals around Afghanistan. Emergency triage assessment and treatment (ETAT) is an essential function of any hospital’s emergency care, particularly when diagnosing and treating children. Since hospitals in Afghanistan lack the capacity and resources to properly prioritize patients’ treatment based on the severity of their condition, many children die within the first few hours of their arrival.
Introducing this life-saving practice in Afghan hospitals is a joint activity implemented through USAID’s Technical Assistance to the Central and Provincial Ministry of Public Health, and Basic Support to Institutionalizing Child Survival projects.
In the first week of November, 14 representatives from the Indira Ghandi Institute of Child Health (IGICH), the Ministry of Public Health in Kabul, and provincial hospitals in Hirat, Jalalabad, Bamyan, and Mazari Sharif traveled to Malawi to observe and study emergency pediatric care where this practice is further advanced. Before the study tour, Afghan participants completed ETAT training taught by trainers from Malawi. The Afghan delegation visited regional and district hospitals and observed the daily operations of the emergency, admission, inpatient, and intensive care departments in order to gain practical insights on successful triage, patient referral, and inpatient monitoring systems.
Back in Afghanistan, the Afghan study tour participants developed action plans to teach others about their new insights and initiate improvements in emergency pediatric care in provincial hospitals. The IGICH will serve as a learning center, ensuring the facilitation of future study visits within Afghanistan.