All Information about EMTs in Kenya
All Information about EMTs in Kenya
The Kenya Council Of Emergency Medical Technicians
All Information about EMTs in Kenya
Emergency services in Kenya function 24 hours a day. Emergency medical technicians therefore have irregular working hours.
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics need formal training and certification. The Kenya council of EMTs sets standards of training and examinations.
Employment is projected to grow much faster than average as paid emergency medical technician positions replace unpaid volunteers while employers are now seeking to employ EMS professionals as a way of improving health & safety issues in their establishments.
Competition will be greater for jobs in local fire, and rescue service departments and more so in private ambulance services; opportunities will be best for those who have advanced certification
Nature of the Work Of The EMTs
People’s lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics—EMTs with additional advanced training to perform more difficult pre-hospital medical procedures. Incidents as varied as automobile accidents, heart attacks, drowning, childbirth, and gunshot wounds all require immediate medical attention. EMTs and paramedics provide this vital attention as they care for and transport the sick or injured to a medical facility.
In an emergency, EMTs and paramedics typically are dispatched to the scene by a dispatcher/ controller who mans the control room, and often receives calls from those in distress. Once they arrive, they determine the nature and extent of the patient’s condition while trying to ascertain whether the patient has preexisting medical problems. Following strict rules and guidelines, they give appropriate emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient. Some patients with minor injuries are treated on the scene of an accident or at their home without transporting them to a medical facility. Emergency treatment for more complicated problems is carried out under the direction of medical doctors by radio or phone preceding or during transport.
EMTs and paramedics may use special equipment, such as backboards, to immobilize patients before placing them on stretchers and securing them in the ambulance for transport to a medical facility. Usually, one EMT or paramedic drives while the other monitors the patient’s vital signs and gives additional care as needed. Some EMTs work as part of the flight crew of helicopters that transport critically ill or injured patients to hospital.
At the medical facility, EMTs and paramedics help transfer patients to the emergency department, report their observations and actions to emergency room staff, and may provide additional emergency treatment. After each run, EMTs and paramedics replace used supplies and check equipment. If a transported patient had a contagious disease, EMTs and paramedics decontaminate the interior of the ambulance and report cases to the proper authorities.
Beyond these general duties, the specific responsibilities of EMTs and paramedics depend on their level of qualification and training. To determine this, the Kenya Council of Emergency Medical Technicians (KCEMT) has the responsibility of registering all EMTs at four levels: First Responder, EMT-1, and EMT-Paramedic. Currently, Kenya has only 150 EMT-1s but deliberate efforts are in the pipeline to train EMTs at all levels
The lowest-level workers—First Responders/First aiders—are trained to provide basic emergency medical care because they tend to be the first persons to arrive at the scene of an incident. Many firefighters, police officers, and other emergency workers have this level of training. The EMT-1 represents the second component of the emergency medical technician system. An EMT-1 is trained to care for patients at the scene of an accident and while transporting patients by ambulance to the hospital under medical direction. The EMT-1 has the emergency skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies.
The EMT-Paramedic has more advanced training that allows the administration of intravenous fluids, the use of manual defibrillators to give lifesaving shocks to a stopped heart, and the application of advanced airway techniques and equipment to assist patients experiencing respiratory emergencies. EMT-Paramedics (EMT-P) provide the most extensive pre-hospital care. In addition to carrying out the procedures already described, paramedics may administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubations, and use monitors and other complex equipment. Currently the EMT-1 can also administer a few i.v drugs though strictly under the directions of a medical controller.
EMTs work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather. They are required to do considerable kneeling, bending, and heavy lifting. These workers risk noise-induced hearing loss from sirens and back injuries from lifting patients. In addition, EMTs and paramedics may be exposed to diseases such as hepatitis-B and AIDS, as well as violence from drug overdose victims or mentally unstable patients. The work is not only physically strenuous, but can be stressful, sometimes involving life-or-death situations and suffering patients. Nonetheless, many people find the work exciting and challenging and enjoy the opportunity to help others.
EMTs in Kenya work for Local councils i.e. Mombasa and Nairobi city councils. Others are firemen with the Kenya Airports authority (KAA) a good number also work at Kenyatta National Hospital at the A&E department while others are at St. John Ambulance, AAR and G4s fire services.
EMTs are usually on call for extended periods. Because emergency services function 24 hours a day, EMTs and paramedics have irregular working hours.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Formal training and certification is needed to become an EMT or paramedic. At least O – Level is typically required to enter a formal training program. Other requirements may vary and are usually updated by the KCEMT. Along with the formal EMT training, other subjects and skills are imparted e.g. leadership and extrication. Registration with the KCEMT is required at all levels of certification. To maintain certification, EMTs and paramedics must reregister, usually every 2 years. In order to reregister, an individual must be working as an EMT or paramedic and meet a continuing education requirement of 200 hrs either in Hospital A&E or Ambulance.
Training is offered at progressive levels: EMT-1 and EMT-Paramedic, EMT-1 coursework typically emphasizes emergency skills, such as managing respiratory, trauma, and cardiac emergencies, and patient assessment. Formal courses are often combined with time in an emergency room or ambulance. The program also provides instruction and practice in dealing with bleeding, fractures, airway obstruction, cardiac arrest, and emergency childbirth. Students learn how to use and maintain common emergency equipment, such as backboards, suction devices, splints, oxygen delivery systems, and stretchers. They also receive training in EMT-Shock Trauma, wherein the caregiver learns to start intravenous fluids and give certain medications, or in EMT-Cardiac, which includes learning heart rhythms and administering advanced medications. Training commonly includes 9 months, and covers patient assessment as well as the use of advanced airway devices and intravenous fluids.
Graduates of approved EMT 1 training programs who pass a written and practical examination administered by the KCEMT earn the title “Registered EMT-1.” The course also is a prerequisite for EMT-Paramedic training.
The most advanced level of training for this occupation is EMT-Paramedic. At this level, the caregiver receives additional training in body function and learns more advanced skills. The Technology program usually lasts up to 2 years and results in an associate degree in applied science. Such education prepares the graduate to take the KCEMT examination and become certified as an EMT-Paramedic. Extensive related coursework and clinical and field experience is required. Because of the longer training requirement, almost all EMT-Paramedics are in paid positions, rather than being volunteers. Refresher courses and continuing education are available for EMTs and paramedics at all levels.
EMTs and paramedics should be emotionally stable, have good dexterity, agility, and physical coordination, and be able to lift and carry heavy loads. They also need good eyesight (corrective lenses may be used) with accurate color vision.
Advancement beyond the EMT-Paramedic level usually means leaving fieldwork. An EMT-Paramedic can become a supervisor, operations manager, administrative director, or executive director of emergency services. Some EMTs and paramedics become instructors, dispatchers, or physician assistants, while others move into sales or marketing of emergency medical equipment. A number of people become EMTs and paramedics to assess their interest in health care, and then decide to return to school and become registered nurses, physicians, or other health workers.
All EMTs in Kenya hold jobs while others more than one job. Most EMTs are working either in Nairobi or Mombassa. Those working in Parastatals are usually transferred from town to town. So as to maintain their skills and also to give back to the public, These individuals volunteer for fire departments, emergency medical services (EMS), or hospitals, and may respond to only a few calls for service per month or may answer the majority of calls.
Through the Constituency development funds (CDF) many constituencies are now purchasing Ambulances that will serve their surrounding communities this is another employment opening for EMTs. EMTs also work closely with firefighters, who often are certified as EMTs as well and act as first responders.
Full-time and part-time paid EMTs are employed in a number of industries. About 6 out of 10 work as employees of private ambulance services. About 3 out of 10 worked in local government for fire departments, public ambulance services, and EMS. Another 2 out of 10 are found in hospitals, working full time within the casualty department or responding to calls in ambulances or helicopters to transport critically ill or injured patients. The remainder worked in various industries providing emergency services.
Employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics is growing much faster than ever anticipated. As more and more Kenyans become aware and appreciate the use of Ambulances to handle emergencies in their homes. As more HMOs also resort to running their own Ambulances instead of subcontracting. Demand will increase for EMTs and paramedics. There will still be demand for part-time, volunteer EMTs and paramedics in rural areas and smaller towns surrounding Nairobi and Mombasa. This is because communities are now using their CDF to purchase Ambulances to serve their constituencies. In addition to jobs arising from growth, openings will occur because of replacement needs; turnover is relatively high in this occupation because of the limited potential for advancement and the modest pay and benefits in private-sector jobs.
EMTs are also encouraged to have additional skills and knowledge so as to fit well in the Job Market. Some of the additional skills and knowledge are – health & Safety issues where one can then be employed as Safety Manager in establishments. (It is mandatory by law to have an employee who will be dealing with issues of health and safety in the work place) others get jobs as health & safety trainers or taken up by the Ministry of labor as health and safety inspectors.
Other additional skills that could make the EMTs marketable are – Fire science, Lifeguard/divers skills in sales marketing and personnel management.
Job opportunities should be best in private ambulance services in which salaries and benefits tend to be slightly better. EMTs and paramedics who have advanced certifications, such as EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic, should enjoy the most favorable job prospects as clients and patients demand higher levels of care before arriving at the hospital.
EMTs usually have a starting salary of between 30000 – 45000Kshs a month. This does not include allowances. They are also entitled to medical covers while other employers even give risk allowance. Many are covered by pension plans that provide retirement at half pay after 20 or 25 years of service or if the worker is disabled in the line of duty.