The earthquake in January 2010 killed more than 250,000 Haitians and caused traumatic injury to tens of thousands of survivors. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Haitian civilians assisted in various medical roles. Many of the civilians requested training, and 8 months after the earthquake, a team of American clinicians, EMTs and health educators returned to Haiti to teach a course in basic lifesaving and emergency care.
Using a modified French-language EMS training curriculum, 60 community members with no previous medical experience were trained during an intense 2-month period. Trainings were held to teach basic lifesaving and stabilization skills. The Gwoup Ayisyen pou Ijans was formed and is preparing to take the French-language EMS exam. A follow-up study is being conducted to assess the capabilities of the students.
Preliminary challenges included securing safe places for training and teaching in both French and Kreyol. Successes were the willingness of trainers to volunteer time and equipment, and the high motivation of the students, despite the inability of the government to promise consistent work for an EMT force.