Tom Druitt in Huye, Rwanda:
If you watched American basketball in the 90’s, you might remember the tearaway pant. They were athletic wear, but not for playing. Baggy track pants with fasteners down the lateral seams, tearaways offered a modish transition from the playful business of NBA warm-up to the serious business of game time, without removing sneakers.
The first principle of good assessment is good exposure…
In timeless fashion, VAST uses the tearaway pant and shirt to teach the importance of adequately exposing the trauma patient. Course participants must search for life threatening injuries in their role-playing colleagues by exploring deep to the Velcro seams of VAST tearaway garments.
As VAST expands across East Africa, demand for this essential traumawear has surged. Dr Mossenson’s personal collection of 90’s Adidas nylon, whilst substantial, was exhausted long ago. Canada Border Services Agency periodically mistakes Dr Livingston’s apartment for an Amazon dispatch centre where VAST equipment and documents are dispensed to faculty in airline-specific allotments. Under the threat of export duties, this too had become an unsustainable resource. The case for local manufacture of tearaway garments was overwhelming.
Christophe, Rwandan VAST co-ordinator, fixer and general good-guy found the solution. A dedicated group of women in Nyamirambo, Kigali were invited to join the global cause.
Gloria and her team of Singer machinists usually manufacture children’s backpacks to carry schoolbooks. Negotiations were complex enough without debating the relative merits of reference texts versus immersive simulation-based training to address anaesthesia workforce shortage in LMICs. Nevertheless, Gloria appreciated the value of locally adapted resources for education. Gloria was onboard and excelled where the sport fashion giants of the 90s didn’t:
respecting her workforce whilst sustainably making products that are purposeful, reliable and reusable.
Twelve tearaway-inspired garments for trauma simulation were delivered, on-time and at budget. Gloria assures us that future orders for East Africa can be produced entirely in house with a supply of local Velcro. Special thanks to Christophe.