Violence and Injury Prevention

Prehospital trauma care systems

To respond to the high demand from policymakers for guidance on the topic of prehospital care, WHO developed Prehospital trauma care systems. Prepared with a network of experts from all regions, the manual focuses on the most promising interventions and components of prehospital trauma care systems, particularly those that are affordable and sustainable and that require minimal training and relatively little in the way of equipment or supplies. The main areas covered include the organization of the prehospital trauma care system, capacity development, data collection, transportation and communication, as well as ethical and legal considerations.

The recommendations contained in this publication address several different scenarios, such as:

  • how to initiate a new formal emergency medical services (EMS) where none previously existed;
  • alternatives to formal EMS with ambulances when resources are constrained, such as by training of those first responders who already constitute the de facto prehospital
    care system in a given area; and
  • how to strengthen existing basic EMS systems.

This publication is intended as a guide for planners in ministries of health and others who wish to strengthen prehospital care in their area.

Prehospital trauma care systems specifically focuses on trauma care at the scene and in route to fixed facilities. There is a companion document Guidelines for essential trauma care that focuses on care delivered at fixed facilities (e.g. clinics and hospitals).