Primary healthcare centers (PHCCs) frequently are contacted for emergency reasons and are expected to provide basic and advanced life support during emergency situations.
The aim of this study was to assess the availability of emergency equipment and the knowledge of the staff working in PHCCs.
The survey was conducted in 21 PHCCs located in the rural city of Isparta, Turkey, in 2001. The availability of emergency equipment, emergency drugs, intravenous parenteral solutions, and diagnostic-therapeutic equipment was evaluated. Knowledge of basic life support of the staff (n = 195) was evaluated using a 10-item test.
Two (9.5%) PHCs had a complete emergency kit with an airways bag, mask, intravenous parenteral solutions, emergency drugs, and other diagnostic equipment. Emergency equipment was easily accessible in 19 PHCCs (90.5%), while in the remaining centers, the equipment and drugs were stored in locked cabinets.The staff that was evaluated consisted of 43 doctors (22%), 132 nurses and midwifes (67%), and 20 health officers (11%). Doctors scored the highest knowledge score (65.5%), followed by nurses and midwives (58.6% and 56.7%, respectively), and health officers (52.5%).
Primary healthcare centers were not prepared to provide advanced life support. Knowledge scores were low and the staff was in need of basic life support training. Further arrangements must be stressed to make PHCC's “emergency-friendly centers” in Isparta, Turkey.