Competence, courage and generosity, these three words are of course not sufficient to describe the daily work of this team which was created 6 years ago. Ever since, Sébastien Perret, who has long worked for the SAMU (emergency service in France) and his team which includes 200 Lao volunteers, answer the emergency calls for road accident in the capital 24 hours a day., 7 days a week, a free service which is indispensable and hardly exists in the country. Here, you can watch a movie of the work they do every day.
They began from scratch and this service was created little by little boy their own will. It became professional through the training of volunteers and the creation of an emergency call center in a small room in the town center and the buying of material and vehicles.
In spite of the daily efforts, it remains insufficient. Their monthly operating budget amounts to 2’000 $. This budget is more than limited when we discover the figures concerning their activity. Moreover, they have difficulty in finding funds: all the persons who work for this project are volunteers and must work themselves to earn their living. This lack of funds has heavy consequences such as:
Loss of time during interventions for which an adapted material would be required (extrication kit and resuscitation kit, perfusion material)
Washing and disinfection of material which normally should only be used once but which they have to use again
Impossibility to answer all the calls when there are too mays cases because of the lack of vehicles and staff.
The description is impressing but the field work is more impressing still. ASA has decided to spend two nights with them during the interventions. Two nights during which we could convince ourselves from the efficiency of the team and of the very tight bonds between the volunteers in spite of the difficulty in managing al the calls, the coordination of the interventions, the information of the families and the transport to hospital when there is no fatal outcome.
The team is organized on two call centers in order to reduce the reaction time. At the beginning of the evening, several future volunteers join the group in order to be trained for first aid gestures. Between the interventions, the volunteers wait for the calls and lie on mats on the floor. They are on duty until 6 am at which time the day team arrives to take over.
We leave them early in the morning with much emotion. We are decided to find sustainable solution in order to support their daily actions.