The Primary Trauma Care Foundation exists to save lives and prevent disability in developing countries. We teach front-line health workers how to deliver emergency medical care with only basic equipment. This life-saving training is completely free, funded entirely by donations.
PTC is all about training. Although it typically starts in the capital city, in the best hospitals and with respected and experienced doctors, our vision is that it spreads as far as possible into the more remote areas and becomes locally sustainable. This is why we train with minimum equipment and facilities, and encourage ingenuity in finding solutions to local problems. The participants are usually health professionals who deal with trauma management in difficult situations.
How it works
The PTC course is a two-day trauma training course, to train health professionals in a systematic approach to the clinical needs of a severely injured patient. A one-day instructor course is held on day three, whereby those successful students and those wishing to become instructors learn how to teach through interactive, modern skill sets.
During the two day course, students are given the PTC manual as a reference book and are trained through lectures, workshops, clinical skill stations and moulage scenarios.
The educational content covers all aspects of the physiological and pathological aspects of the trauma patient, taught in a systematic, interactive way culminating in a practice or examination scenario.
The PTC course adheres to the principles taught in ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support). There are other, similar courses around the world, but PTC is unique in three principles: (1) its use of mentoring – training trainers, and trainers of trainers, in order to enable cascades; (2) its use of volunteer instructors and very low or zero cost for all trainees; and (3) its low-tech approach, using only the equipment and facilities that are available locally. Together with educational and clinical success factors learned by years of practice on all continents, and with a constant learning attitude, these principles make sustainability possible in reducing the global burden of trauma. Clearly, the limitations in equipment mean that we cannot address all types of injury, but we can address most of them and 80% is better than zero.
Assessment and Feedback
Assessment and feedback is practised throughout the course. Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) before and after the course allow instructors to assess their efficiency and, in some countries, an examination is held at the end of the course for Continuing Medical Education (CME) accreditation.
Although the initial training is often done by visiting instructors from other countries, we strongly encourage the local team to take it forward from there. A local PTC committee is formed in each country in order to prioritise and organise the subsequent courses.
After the standard two-day trauma training course, a one-day instructor course is held on day three, whereby those successful students and those wishing to become instructors learn how to teach through interactive, modern skill sets.
These methods of training have been improved progressively over 15 years.
The strength of the present routine of a two-day PTC course and one-day PTC Instructor course is that it enables local doctors and health care workers very quickly to be in a position to train others in these principles, thereby empowering local clinicians and encouraging them to help their own community.