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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Saving lives through motorcycle paramedics
10 January 2018 04:25:28 PM

Monstrous urban traffic hampers response time of ambulances and put the lives of medical emergency patients in danger. The solution: motorcycle paramedics.

Rep. Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon) and the House committee on health are working on a bill offering such solution.

House Bill 6739 mandates all hospitals to provide motorcycle paramedics as front-line medical emergency responders, who will help save the lives of patient/s or victim/s of injury or trauma.

In many emergencies, every second counts as survivability can decline as the clock ticks away.

“A trained medical emergency responder may save the life of a stroke or accident victim but because of lack or no trained medical first responder in the local levels, precious lives are lost that could have been saved,” said Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde Jr. (Party-list, BUHAY), author of the bill.

Aside from the need for trained emergency paramedic or first responder, Velarde said mobility was another major issue.

“But the monstrous traffic we are experiencing in highly urban centers, such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and other cities, the response time of medical emergency vehicles or ambulances are hampered resulting to serious injury or even death of a victim or patient,” Velarde said.

If the monstrous traffic is the problem of emergency paramedics in urban centers, poor accessibility or lack of good roads is the concern in many parts of rural Philippines, specifically in the under-served and unserved far-flung and mountainous areas.

Velarde said if only government, especially the front-line government units in the locality or local government units could provide the means of transportation adaptive to the terrain of their locality, then the response time of committed medical personnel or paramedics could be significantly reduced.

Velarde said the two-wheeled motorcycle paramedics could weave through heavy traffic in urban areas or traverse rough roads in rural areas providing timely medical response in cases of emergency.

The bill provides that the motorcycle medical first responder unit shall also serve hard-to-reach areas such as traffic-congested areas, under-served or unserved communities and areas.

The motorcycle medical first responder unit/s shall be equipped with motorcycles adaptive to the particular condition of their service area, standard motorcycle riding equipment; communication equipment, such as radio trans-receiver and/or cellular phone; medical equipment; and medicines and supplies to perform procedures to stabilize the patient prior to the arrival of emergency paramedic or ambulance.

HB 6739 prescribes the following minimum qualifications of a motorcycle medical first responder: can drive a motorcycle; have a driver’s license; have undergone and passed a qualifying examination on safe motorcycle driving; monitor vital signs; perform first aid; administer oxygen therapy; perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; and perform automated external defibrillator.

The proposal likewise states medical first responders shall be Standard First Aid, Basic Life Support, Emergency Medical Technician and Advanced Cardiac Life Support-trained from a Department of Health-certified training provider.

It mandates the DOH, in cooperation with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and non-government organizations (NGOs), such as the Philippine National Red Cross, to provide the curriculum for the training and certification of Motorcycle Medical First Responder to develop competency in providing basic life support for adult, child and infant patient.

Likewise, it tasks the Land Transportation Office (LTO), in coordination with the DOH, to conduct a safe motorcycle driving course and a qualifying examination to prospective candidates for motorcycle medical first responders.

The LTO, on the other hand may, in the performance of this mandate, accredit NGOs with at least five years track record on advocacy and conducting education and training for safe motorcycle driving. / MVIP