Certified to respond to disasters locally and internationally, members of the BDF Field Medical Facility pose with PAHO/WHO representatives outside the camp site yesterday. (BDF Field Medical Facility)

The Barbados Defence Force’s (BDF) Field Medical Facility (FMF) has been given the green light to respond to medical emergencies in Barbados and other disaster stricken countries.

It received its Type 1 classification on Thursday following two days of intense verification checks of the Facility’s Standard Operating Procedures, financing, medical procedures policies, structures and physical set-up by teams from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The announcement was made by Regional Advisor for Emergency Medical teams in the Health Emergencies Department of PAHO, Luis de la Fuente Martin, during a short ceremony in Hodgson Hall at St. Ann’s Fort.

Other members of the verification team, along with the BDF’s Emergency Medical Team Coordinator, Major Junior Browne; Commanding Officer of the Barbados Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Lovell; and other BDF officers who are a part of the team were also in attendance.

“The emphasis on verification is very important, especially for people affected by emergencies. We can be sure that the teams providing medical care are professional, are well trained…,” Mr. de la Fuente said.

As a Type 1 Facility, the team is now accredited to provide mainly outpatient care, stabilization and referral of major trauma cases.

The PAHO official said representatives from his organization and the World Health Organization described the BDF FMF as “a very well managed team” which was recommended for classification as an Emergency Medical Team Type 1.

He explained that the verification team was aware of some of the challenges experienced by the BDF FMF, but was proud to see that they overcame them to be accredited.

Major (retired) Andrew Darlington speaking to PAHO/WHO representatives during the verification process. (BDF Field Medical Facility)

“This is the first step to joining the classification. It is very important for the BDF and the country, because you are joining a roster to be deployed internationally. This capacity is very important. Now that you have been verified, we will check with you to ensure that you have this capacity, especially in the Caribbean, as we remember what happened some weeks ago in The Bahamas,” Mr. de la Fuente said, noting they could now join other teams in providing timely and safe medical care.

In response, Major Browne thanked the PAHO/WHO representatives for their leadership and knowledge which was shared over the last two days.

He also gave the assurance that recommendations for improvement would be considered going forward as they sought to strengthen the unit.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Lovell described the achievement as being “a significant point of pride” for the Chief of Staff and all ranks of the BDF.  

“We are extremely proud of our Emergency Medical Team that was certified. …. We are firm in the knowledge that if they do have to deploy in response to a severe weather system or whatever befalls us here in the Caribbean…, that they will do Barbados proud, and they will provide a level of assistance that they may very well and so desperately need,” he stated.

Barbados Defence Force Field Medical Facility

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