TraumaLink was founded in 2013 by Dr. Jon Moussally, an attending emergency physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and North Shore Medical Center, along with Eric Dunipace and Ryan Fu, arvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health students.
The organizations’s goal is to decrease the number of traffic accidents in Bangladesh. Their work was featured in SAI’s 2014 publication Health and South Asia.
By Dr. Jon Moussally
TraumaLink is a volunteer-based emergency response system for victims of road traffic injuries and other types of trauma. The system utilizes an emergency hotline number, a 24/7 call center, and volunteer first responders recruited from the local community.
The curriculum, in Bangla, has been designed to teach simple but life-saving skills that can be learned and performed even by those with little formal education. We are also providing volunteers with first aid supplies like bandages and stretchers.
When a bystander or victim calls us, our operators quickly identify where the crash occurred and how many people are injured. Our graphic user interface then automatically generates SMS messages to volunteers prioritized by their proximity to the crash scene. After treatment at the scene, we also provide guidance on where to take patients based on their location and the severity of their injuries.
To create support for this service we have created strong relationships with the Police, Highway Police, community leaders, and policy makers. We have also created a strong network of formal partnerships with other organizations working in road safety to assist in our first aid activities and to work in research, prevention, and advocacy.
We were able to handpick over 100 volunteers, who received 2 days of intensive hands-on training in small groups. On November 23, 2014 we officially launched our pilot program on a 15 km stretch of the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway in Daudkandi and this was celebrated with a launching event attended by over 200 people including distinguished national figures, local leaders, our volunteers, and members of the local and national press.
Since we began our pilot we have responded to over 60 crashes and treated almost 100 injured patients. Our volunteers have responded to every call we have received and all but two of these response times have been less than five minutes. Some of these patients were severely injured and almost certainly would have died without the rapid care they received at the crash scene. Despite the demands of the job and the ongoing political crisis none of our volunteers have left the program.
TraumaLink has been designed to use resources available in any developing nation and our sincere hope is that by demonstrating the success of this program in Bangladesh we can then use it as a model for other low and middle-income countries throughout the world.