USAID Funds Expansion of Trek Medics’ Community Emergency Services in Rural Dominican Republic
Grant will allow Trek Medics to expand
innovative emergency dispatching software, Beacon, and first responder training programs
MONTECRISTI, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Oct. 21, 2015): Trek Medics International, a New York-based nonprofit organization that develops 911 systems in resource-limited communities, today announced a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand the implementation of their innovative emergency dispatching software, Beacon, in rural Dominican Republic (D.R.).
“We’re very excited for the opportunity to expand our work with local providers in Montecristi province,” said Dr. Kevin Munjal, medical director for Trek Medics. “The need for improved access to emergency care and transport for road traffic injuries in the Dominican Republic is unparalleled in the Americas, so we’re grateful for the government’s strong pro-active stance in combating this problem, making it possible for innovative solutions like our own to contribute to national efforts.”
Beacon is a text message-based emergency medical dispatching platform designed specifically for communities where advanced “911” technologies are too costly or inappropriate. “Beacon works by relaying requests for urgent assistance from the scene of an emergency to trained layperson responders in the community who can locate, stabilize and transport patients to the hospital wherever a mobile signal exists,” said Dr. Munjal.
Trek Medics will use Stage 1 funding from USAID’s Development Innovation Venture (DIV) to scale their coverage from 15,000 to 175,000 residents within the next year, ensuring that all persons requesting emergency assistance in the catchment area will be attended to by trained community responders with access to transport within 10 minutes in village centers, and within 30 minutes in outlying and isolated communities.
Trek Medics’ work in the D.R. started in June 2014 after receiving an email from a Peace Corps volunteer seeking a new ambulance for her community. Working with the local fire department and other community partners to train responders and implement Beacon, the program received additional support from Google and Cardinal Health in 2014, with the software’s launch in April 2015. Since then, community responders have transported nearly 100 patients for both emergency response and inter-facility patient transfers.
About Development Innovation Ventures
Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is an open innovation fund at USAID that sources, tests, and scales breakthrough solutions to global development challenges. Through a year-round grant competition for innovative ideas in any sector and nearly any country, DIV invests funding and hands-on support in solutions with the potential to deliver more impact, for lower cost, at sustainable scale. For more information about DIV, please visit http://www.usaid.gov/div.
About Trek Medics Intl
Trek Medics international is a NYC-based nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving emergency medical systems in communities with unreliable access to emergency care and transport. Our approach enables communities with limited resources to implement and sustain comprehensive, round-the-clock emergency services that can match or exceed the performance standards of comparably-sized systems used in the wealthiest nations, and for a fraction of the cost. Trek Medics leadership has been directly involved in prehospital emergency care delivery and systems development in over 25 countries, from Sydney to San Diego, and from Tijuana to Lahore. To learn more about our programs and Beacon dispatching software, please visit: https://trekmedics.org/beacon/