Trek Medics International is a 501c3-registered nongovernmental organization (NGO) dedicated to improving emergency medical systems in communities without reliable access to emergency care through innovative mobile phone technologies. They make their services available to all communities, regardless of race, religion or creed.
HOW THEY STARTED
Trek Medics was born in the back of an ambulance when its founder, Jason Friesen, realized his career as a paramedic wasn’t offering too many options to work outside the ambulance. Not wanting to leave the skills he’d learned behind, he headed south of the U.S.-Mexico border to see how ambulance systems were developed where resources were hard to come by. In Tijuana, he saw how a very high-volume urban system could deliver quality care with moderate resources, but outside the big city it was evident how rural communities were more reliant on informal response systems to get help when it was needed. Intrigued by the dignity and self-reliance of these “primitive” services, and the last-resort safety net they provided, Jason was convinced there were more efficient ways to build EMS systems without all the resources typically used — and there were clearly local community member who were already making it work. Seizing on the opportunity, he started researching prehospital systems development in low-resource settings, put up a web site to start collecting and compiling the data, observations, and links he was finding, and almost overnight people started reaching out, presenting him with new opportunities to improve emergency medical systems in far-flung places. In the course of doing so, Jason felt like he was pulling back the curtain, every so slightly, on what was turning out to be one of modern society’s greatest challenges: How does a community guarantee its people a reliable way to get help whenever it was needed? Or more practically, what’s the quickest way to the hospital anywhere It turned out this was a question most communities in developing countries still hadn’t come up with a uniform answer to.
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