Montenegro and Croatia continue cooperation under the ipa umbrella

Dubrovnik, 16-17 April 2011 – Within the EU’s IPA Cross Border Cooperation programme “Business Cooperation and Skills Improvement for the Development of Outdoor Tourism“ between Montenegro and Croatia, eight Croatian instructors from the International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) successfully held a course for 28 members of Mountain Rescue Services from Montenegro and Croatia. As a result, 11 participants from Montenegro became certified for ITLS. Three participants from the Montenegrin Mountain Rescue Service were also identified as potential future ITLS instructors.

Given the growth, in recent years, of the outdoor tourism market in Montenegro, this focus on ensuring safety and security is of the utmost importance. ITLS courses give participants the knowledge and hands-on skills to take better care of trauma patients, stressing rapid assessment and examination of the injured, identification of immediate life threats and appropriate intervention to prevent the consequences of trauma. Since its foundation, over 500,000 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals have undergone ITLS training, which is dynamic and practical and delivered in the same way all around the world: it lasts 2 days, consists of lectures and exercises, and ends in practical and written assessment of knowledge. Upon the course completion, trainees are issued international certificates valid for 3 years.

Given that emergency care for the injured on the spot includes also non-medical services (fire-fighters, police officers, the military, mountain rescuers, etc), in addition to the advanced programme for EMS professionals, the ITLS courses are also carried out through a basic programme for professionals of other services.

The need to introduce such a system in Croatia was first recognized by the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) intending to improve the medical knowledge of Croatian mountain rescuers and have uniform treatment of the injured in rescue operations. Such thinking within HGSS has made the International Trauma Life Support – as the most effective system of its kind globally – available to all services involved in pre-hospital trauma care in Croatia.

The project “Business Cooperation and Skills Improvement for the Development of Outdoor Tourism” is funded by the European Union through the IPA programme. It is implemented by the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service and the NGO Centre for Sustainable Tourism Initiatives from Montenegro, as lead partners from two countries, in partnership with the UNDP Country Office Montenegro and the NGO Sunce from Croatia.

The International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) is a global organization dedicated to prevention of death and disabilities from trauma. It attains its goals through education of persons involved in emergency trauma care. ITLS was founded in the early 1980s as Basic Trauma Life Support.  From its early roots as a local and regional trauma education course for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals, BTLS grew to have over 70 chapters and training centers around the world, on the account of which, in 2005, it changed its name to International Trauma Life Support (ITLS). As the first course of the kind worldwide, ITLS is accepted internationally as the standard training course for pre-hospital trauma care.