Creating a Pacific hub for MIMMS and disaster education
18 Mar 2023
Contributed by Gavin O’Brien, NCCTRC Nurse Education Consultant and MIMMS Course Coordinator
The Pacific are set to take the reins of the Major Incident Medical Management & Support (MIMMS) course, sharing their skills and experience across the region.
The inaugural Generic Instructors Course (GIC) hosted in the Pacific in December saw the addition of 15 faculty from Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the instructor pool which now stands at 49. The addition of local faculty and subject matter experts allow the courses to be contextualised and delivered by local faculty to local participants – paving the way for self-sufficiency in disaster response education.
Development of local leaders to train is integral for the succession planning of MIMMS in the Indo-Pacific region. Not only does it allow for local experts to provide contextualised content, it frames service capability and delivery with the lens of local capacity and resources.
The MIMMS courses are an important element in preparing an Emergency Medical Team (EMT) for disaster response and overall deployment capability. Introduced in 2010, the EMT initiative which is a World Health Organization (WHO) program saw the introduction of global minimum standards. These standards provide rapidly mobile coordinated teams with an ethical framework to support effected governments , reduce loss of life, and prevent escalation of injury and disease caused by disasters. More information regarding the role and responsibilities of an EMT can be found on the WHO website.
MIMMS is an internationally recognised course licenced by the Advanced Life Support Group (ALSG) UK. The introduction of MIMMS across the Indo-Pacific under the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) Regional Engagement Program saw the first course delivered in Myanmar in 2013. Since then more than 35 courses have been delivered to nearly 800 participants across nine countries, supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
In its simplest narrative, MIMMS provides a framework and guiding principles encompassing command and control structures, communications and scene safety delivered as a series of lectures, tabletops, workshops and simulations. MIMMS courses are focussed on the spectrum of disaster from pre-hospital assessment, transport and through to recovery.
MIMMS is a three-day course with a focus on assessment, triage, treatment and transport in the pre-hospital environment targeted at first responders across multiple agencies.
Hospital Major Incident Medical Management & Support (HMIMMS) is a two-day course that examines a hospital systems and capacities across the reception, definitive care and recovery stages. This course is targeted at clinicians, administrators and auxiliary staff in the health service.
MIMMS courses are embedded with instructor development pathways which help identify and support nominated individuals to become independent instructors. Identified instructors are invited to attend a Generic Instructors Course (GIC) in which participants undertake an intensive three-day course exploring adult education theory and several teaching strategies.
Passing this internationally recognised course into the hands of our Pacific colleagues is vital to increase capacity and create a long standing ripple effect across the Pacific. Needless to say, this would be an impossible without the dedicated and passionate individuals championing the coordination and delivery in partnering countries.
Dr Basil Leodoro, Head Surgeon Northern District Hospital Luganville, completed both the MIMMS course in Vanuatu and the GIC in Darwin. He says the skills he learnt and experience gained since instructing and delivering the course has assisted in how he and his fellow colleagues responded to the Vanuatu’s first wave of COVID-19.
"Drawing from the experience has supported me to lead and conduct a national simulation exercise drawing on MIMMS education principles and adapting that to Vanuatu's setting,” he said.
“Emergency care and pre-hospital care for Vanuatu has been significantly boosted with the introduction of further MIMMS trained instructors, arrival of newly qualified emergency medicine physicians, graduation of 6 ni-Vanuatu paramedics, as well as more efficient coordination of the logistics involved in pre-hospital care.”
Dr Leodoro said MIMMS principles have become essential when applied to cyclone preparedness and response planning.
"We are certainly looking forward to strengthening our partnerships with the NCCTRC and the opportunity to welcome MIMMS back in country in 2023," Dr Leodoro concluded.
Passing on the MIMMS baton
As an organisation, the NCCTRC endeavours to strengthen and maintain connections and strengthen relationships with health partners across the Pacific. Connection with MIMMS faculty and alumni is key to strengthening relationships with health partnerships across the region. Similarly, these relationships allow the Regional Engagement team to schedule future training dates ensuring further education and upskilling in emergency response.
Part of my role as the Pacific Coordinator is to coach, mentor and to assist in growing a team of leaders and instructors. Long term planning and guidance will see the role of the Pacific Coordinator absolved as each participating country will inherently develop independent National Coordinators maintaining local faculty and stakeholder engagement.
Fiji has demonstrated this since its inaugural course in 2014 with the training of nearly 200 participants across multiple course products from several professions. In addition to the participants trained 18 have been supported through the leadership development to MIMMS Directors and the premise to become a substantiated ALSG Course Centre.
Faculty are also afforded the unique opportunity to integrate and network with colleagues across the Pacific teaching and supporting the health service response, strengthening capacity in light of a major incident.
I have been truly humbled and feel incredibly fortunate to be in such a wonderful role and get to collaborate with so many passionate and influential individuals across the Indo-Pacific region.
Gavin is a Registered nurse and has worked in the health service in varying roles since 2006.
Originally from Sydney, Gavin trained as a Psychiatric Nurse prior to transferring over to the Critical Care where he worked in Emergency for 10 years. He has since undertaken post graduate studies in both Emergency Nursing and Disaster Management.
Gavin moved from RDH Emergency Department to the NCCTRC in the Education team in early 2019 where he has been fortunate to the coordination and delivery of MIMMS course both locally and internationally. In addition to the Gavin gets to support other aspects of the NCCTRC with delivery of AUSMAT and other special events in the NT. Currently undertaking a Master in Disaster Management, Gavin has a passion for clinical education and simulation training in the disaster space.