Health Board starts Prangli island medical brigade ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Prangli island's house of culture (Rahvamaja). Source: Ivo Kruusamägi/

The Health Board and the North Estonia Medical Centre (PERH) in Tallinn are together setting up a first aid brigade, which will start work on the island of Prangli from the beginning of April.

The brigade is not being set up in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and its plans predate the emergency situation, the Health Board said.

"The Health Board (Terviseamet) started working with PERH 2011, on a project to prepare a team of first responders on the island of Kihnu, and the following year we already expanded our activities to include the islands of Ruhnu and Vormsi," said Kalev Pahla, head ambulance specialist at the Health Board's department of emergency medicine, according to a Health Board press release.

The move aims to boost access to emergency medicine for permanent residents on Estonia's islands, as well as those visiting or staying temporarily on the islands. Prangli lies about 30 kilometers offshore from Tallinn, and is not part of the larger western archipelago which includes the large islands of Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and many others. Prangli has a small year-round population of around 150.

The brigade, whose organization is unconnected with the current coronavirus pandemic, the Health Board says, includes active local residents who have passed an emergency medicine course.

Prangli is the fourth small island in Estonia, where the service is now provided. The island brigades are funded by the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) and form part of the Estonian emergency medical care system.

Two of the three brigade members are located on the island itself, with the head of the brigade a third member who coordinates their activities via video link from PERH.

Training for the first responders falls under the auspices of PERH, which also provides the necessary equipment and tools.

*The brigade's equipment also includes an ambulance with the necessary medical equipment and radio communications. Personnel primarily provide first aid within their competence, and help evaluate a patient's need for further medical help and possible hospitalization.

A doctor on the mainland can provide guidance over the video link.

The first response brigade on Prangli works 24 hours a day on all weekdays.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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