A UK-Med team including nurses, doctors and humanitarian health specialists is currently in Armenia, supporting the country’s response to COVID-19.
We’re working there as part of the UK Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT), which is funded by UK Aid.
Our work includes on-the-job support to help doctors and nurses deliver high quality care for people who are severely and critically ill with coronavirus. We’re also training nurses in key skills for caring for COVID-19 patients, and how to prevent the spread of infection.
The team is based in Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan, for five weeks. Read on to meet some of the team and see a few highlights from their work so far…
Trish McCready is Nursing Sister in Critical Care at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.
She’s been training intensive care nurses at Armenia’s flagship COVID-19 hospital, Surb Grigor Lusavorich. One of the topics they’ve covered is how to safely use non-invasive ventilation.
Trish says, “We focused on the importance of good communication before putting on the mask. The lead nurse said it was the best training they had ever received and have asked us to move to Armenia permanently!”
David Clarke is an Emergency Medicine Consultant from Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.
He treated 68-year-old Vanush, who arrived at Nork hospital with severe COVID-19 and extremely low oxygen saturation levels.
Happily, after two weeks in hospital, the team thinks Vanush is now almost well enough to continue his recovery at home. In this photo, David is teaching him a home physiotherapy technique to help strengthen his lungs by blowing up a balloon.
Dr Rebecca Inglis is a Specialist Registrar in Intensive Care (ICU) with the UK EMT.
She’s been working with Trish McCready to run critical care simulation training for ICU staff at Surb Grigor Lusavorich hospital.
“We are avoiding didactic lectures in favour of a more practical, interactive style of teaching,” Rebecca says. “We provide a safe, fun and supportive setting for nurses and doctors to practise the key skills they need to provide high quality care to patients with COVID.”
The training has been incredibly popular. “Every class is useful and interesting,” says Svetlana, a senior ICU nurse. “I did not want to miss any teaching so I have come in on my day off.”
Emergency Medicine Consultant Paul Ransom is pictured here at Nork hospital with one of his patients, Miquel.
When he arrived at the hospital, 63-year-old Miquel was very short of breath with low levels of oxygen in his blood, but has been improving after treatment with oxygen and steroids.
Paul says, “He was pleased to show me that now he was able to walk around without being too short of breath. Such low levels of oxygen in the blood would trigger alarm in the UK, but in this context showed a significant improvement and was a cause for celebration.”
We’re grateful to the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for UK Aid funding from the British people to fund this important response.