Training pre-hospital trauma care in low-income countries: the 'Village University' experience

Med Teach. 2003 Mar;25(2):142-8. doi: 10.1080/0142159031000092526.


A prospective study was carried out of the health effects and sustainability of a low-cost trauma training program for non-graduate village healthcare workers. From 1996 to 1999, a core group of 44 health workers from mine-infested rural communities in Cambodia and Northern Iraq were trained and equipped to deliver low-cost life support to trauma victims. They in turn trained a network of 2800 layman village first responders. Training was done in makeshift camps at village level ('Village Universities'). A total of 813 patients were managed by the rural rescue system from 1997 to 1999. The mortality rate for trauma victims decreased from 22.6% in 1997 to 13.7% in 1999 (95% CI for difference 1.8% to 16.0%). Management by village first responders had a significant impact on in-field response times and trauma mortality. The rescue system replicated itself during the study period as an indicator of sustainability. The study showed that after trauma care training at rural makeshift training centers, non-graduate health workers can build efficient and sustainable rural rescue systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / education*
  • Blast Injuries / mortality
  • Blast Injuries / therapy*
  • Cambodia / epidemiology
  • Developing Countries
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Iraq / epidemiology
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regional Medical Programs / organization & administration*
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*