For decades, respiratory care was a uniquely North American profession, with therapists mainly seen in the U.S. and Canada. However, that has changed markedly over the past three or four decades, as countries as far-flung as Argentina and Taiwan have developed their own respiratory care professions.
One of the latest countries to jump on the respiratory care bandwagon has been Yemen, and pioneers in the field recently published a history of the profession in their country in the Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine.
It all started in 2005
According to authors Saleem N. Hamilah, Mohammed Al Ahmari, Mohammed A. Alsabri, and Gamil G. Alrubaiee, respiratory care started in 2005 when four health care providers in the country traveled to Amman, Jordan, to take part in a one-year respiratory therapy training course.
Those newly trained therapists came back and helped open the first RC unit at Thawra Modern General Hospital. Slowly but surely, additional Yemenis were trained to work as RTs in facilities across the country. The first academic program for respiratory care was launched in 2015 at the Yemen Biliquis Medical Institute, and the first Yemeni Conference of Respiratory Care was held in 2017 at the 48 Model Hospital.
In the years since, the profession has seen the development of additional academic programs and the establishment of the Respiratory Care Services Administration (RSCS) to oversee the profession. In 2019, the profession was introduced as a core standard in the accreditation of any hospital by the RCSA – Ministry of Public Health and Population.
Efforts were also launched to license the profession under the Yemeni Medical Council, establish the Yemeni Association for Respiratory Care, and introduce Yemen as a member of the International Council for Respiratory Care.
177 and counting
Today there are 177 respiratory therapists in the country, and more positive changes are on the horizon. The authors wrote, “There are ongoing initiatives to increase the number of RC programs nationwide, especially at the bachelor’s degree level . . . the RC discipline in Yemen will likely progress rapidly in the next few years.”
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