- Medical teams of the Institut Guttmann will travel to Jamaica and the Philippines, countries included in the UNICEF-Abertis framework agreement, to carry out training sessions and provide counselling to local doctors.
- In this way, the accident prevention efforts of Abertis and UNICEF are combined with those of hospital care after the accident, by the Institut Guttmann.
Abertis has gone a step further to combat the leading killer of school-age children: road traffic accidents. In the framework of the collaboration agreement with UNICEF announced last October, Abertis has incorporated a new area of collaboration with the Institut Guttmann, which will bring together the best practices of the three institutions in the prevention of damages in traffic accidents amongst children.
Thanks to this new agreement, two medical teams specialised in the treatment of injuries of neurological origin (spinal cord injury and acquired brain damage) of the Institut Guttmann, will travel to different countries to carry out training sessions and provide counselling to local doctors, on the best applied practices for the prevention and treatment of injuries derived from traffic accidents.
In the first stage, the teams will visit hospitals in the Philippines and Jamaica, countries included in the UNICEF-Abertis agreement, which, like many others with low and middle incomes, have a public health problem regarding road traffic accidents involving children. In the future, it is planned to expand the number of countries benefited by this agreement.
The selection of the medical centres chosen for the training sessions will be carried out by taking into account local needs and in accordance with the counselling of local organisations focused on the victims care area and prevention of medical complications area. In the case of Jamaica, collaboration is expected, with the Association of orthopaedic physicians, and in the case of the Philippines, work will be carried out with large medical centres with traumatology services in Manila and other provinces.
The innovative project, which has had the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation since its beginning, through the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, was presented today at the Viana Palace in Madrid with representatives of the three entities and the Ministry. Sergi Loughney, director of institutional relations and CSR of Abertis, participated in the event together with Javier Martos, executive director of the UNICEF Spanish Committee, and Josep Maria Ramírez, managing director of the Institut Guttmann. Fernando García Casas, Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, has closed the presentation summarizing the most important purpose of the programme: “A safe journey to school is a step towards the future”.
Sergi Loughney, director of institutional relations and CSR of Abertis, has reiterated that road safety is a priority for Abertis: "Through our Abertis Global Road Safety programme, we promote our knowledge of road safety engineering and our experience in road safety education and awareness programmes on our motorways. However, our commitment is global, and for this reason we are very satisfied with this new agreement with the Institut Guttmann, which, jointly with our collaboration with UNICEF, will make it possible to mitigate injuries to children, from road traffic accidents, throughout the world. "
On his part, Dr. Josep Maria Ramírez, director of the Institut Guttmann has explained that initiatives like this give special meaning to his work: "The idea is to create interdisciplinary groups formed by doctors, nurses, physiotherapists/ occupational therapists and neuropsychologists to try to provide local professionals with all those practices that, based on our more than 50 years of experience, help us improve care and prevention of complications in persons with neurological injuries, and thus provide a better quality of life to these persons. We have previous experiences in similar humanitarian work in Bosnia, Nicaragua, Panama, etc.".
Javier Martos, executive director of the UNICEF Spanish Committee, stressed that "every day, more than 3,000 children die or suffer road traffic injuries throughout the world, and that is why it is a priority to act to prevent accidents, something we are already doing with Abertis. We are pleased that the Institut Guttmann is also joining the Abertis programme to save the lives of millions of children affected by road traffic accidents."
At the meeting, there were also presented the two main supervisors for the medical teams that will travel to Jamaica and the Philippines: Enric Portell, rehabilitation doctor with more than 30 years of experience in the treatment of spinal cord injuries; and Ignasi Soriano, occupational therapist and coordinator of the Paediatric Rehabilitation Unit, both from the Institut Guttmann.