Exploring the facilitators and challenges of Emergency Medical Services: a case of Kisii County Government
Manoti, Lyndah Kemunto
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Emergency medical services (EMS) are urgent interventions and procedures offered to patients to prevent disability and preserve life after the occurrence of injury or acute illness. The services usually offered in out-of-hospital setups or during transit to a definitive health facility, contribute to the overall health outcomes. Globally, the need for EMS remains critical, as over half of the global mortalities are as a result of emergency medical diseases. This study aimed to explore facilitators and challenges of implementing EMS in Kisii County using the health system building block framework. The research was a cross-sectional qualitative study that utilized interviews for data collection. The target population was 14 the personnel in the EMS department; health managers and EMS frontline workers of the Kisii County. The study findings were subjected to qualitative data analysis and finding presented. The study followed all ethical considerations.The study established that the EMS implementation has improved health services by increasing the scope of services to include referrals, medical evacuation, and health education. The main facilitators for the EMS service delivery were a dedicated, diverse and team spirited work force, good communication and coordination during the dispatch process, availability of infrastructure, medical products, and technologies, and publicly financed system. The study also revealed that the main challenges in the EMS implementation are inadequately trained workforce, staff shortages, some faulty equipment, lack of financial transparency and delays in allocation, lack of a lead agency and national policies on EMS. Based on the findings, the study recommends that EMS implementers ensure that they have well trained and adequate EMS workforce, availability of functional communication, medical and transportation infrastructure. Additionally, develop national EMS policies and publicly financed EMS systems.