Tohoku University's Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo) offered Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO®) and Basic Life Support in Obstetrics (BLSO®) courses earlier this autumn as flagship events for its ToMMo program established February this year. The courses were designed to train physicians and other health care providers to effectively respond to perinatal emergencies during periods of calamity.
The courses were held last September 15-16, 2012 in Ishinomaki City one of the most devastated areas during the Great East Japan Earthquake. The courses were offered as part of an effort to help support community medical and health systems in the disaster hit area. This was the first time that ALSO® and BLSO® courses were held in Ishinomaki City and the first time that these were offered as pre-disaster preparatory courses in Japan.
The program significantly contributed to institutional development geared towards supporting obstetricians and gynecologists in areas where medical infrastructure was deemed insufficient. It also provided training to medical practitioners to better serve the needs of mothers in labor during catastrophic events.
In Japan, more than 1,000 people have attended the ALSO® course so far. One NPO, the Organization for the Advancement of Pregnancy, Perinatal and Infant Care (OPPIC), is now working to offer the course in more areas across the country through ALSO-Japan. ALSO® remains to be a highly regarded educational course for delivery since its original conceptualization in the United States in 1991.
The program was held in cooperation with the Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital, the OPPIC, the Ishinomaki Reconstruction Collaboration Project Council, and the Miyagi Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Information Network Association, a non-profit which was supported in part by grant funding from the U.S.-Japan Council's TOMODACHI Initiative.