Date of Conferral





Public Health


Frazier B. Beatty


Traumatic injuries have steadily increased during the last two decades, affecting over 5.8 million persons annually and have become a global public health issue. Since 2008, 80% of all deaths from noncommunicable diseases and trauma, approximately 29 million occurred in developing countries. Sixteen thousand young adults worldwide have died due to traumatic injuries. Additionally, injuries account for over 15% of the global burden of diseases, with approximately 90% of these injuries occurring in developing countries like St. Lucia. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to examine policy gaps in prehospital traumatic injury responses and explore implementing Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF), that were conceptualized by countries in the Caribbean, to strengthen prehospital injury responses in St. Lucia. Using criterion-based sampling, 13 respondents from the St. Lucia emergency room, fire service Emergency Medical Services, and the ministry of health were interviewed. Their responses indicated a general deficiency in the procedures that guide trauma responses. Respondents cited EPHF 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, and sections of 9, as missing, and 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 10 as useful to improve prehospital response procedures and policies. These EPHF can be implemented through consultation with the ministry of health once political buy-in is achieved. The results indicate that the use of EPHF as a gold standard could be enforced through quality assurance programs. The findings from this study contribute to the knowledge base of prehospital traumatic injury responses. The study also has the potential to impact social change by providing health education campaigns that sensitize citizens to the perils of unnecessary and improper movement and transportation of injured victims