The International Skills and Training Institute in Health (ISTIH) is an independent, not- for-profit organisation that co-ordinates the resources needed to deliver sustainable medical skills training and disaster relief within the Indo Pacific region.
Drawing from a volunteer pool of Western Australian, Australian and internationally-based clinical specialists, ISTIH aims to work in collaboration with local health workers and organisations to develop specialised training programs in medicine, nursing and allied health to suit the needs of communities across our region.
ISTIH was established in 2005 following the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. Professor Michael Henderson and Professor Bruce Robinson AM recognised a lack of cohesion across Western Australian development aid initiatives within the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, and formed ISTIH to enable a holistic approach in the delivery of WA-based aid services to communities throughout these areas. Most international aid and disaster relief arrive too late to save many victims, as many die within a critical period of 12 to 24 hours of a disaster. ISTIH was developed as an alternative to common reactive aid approaches and embodies a pre-emptive, proactive approach, by which local medics are equipped with the necessary skills to respond to an emergency situation before disaster strikes.
ISTIH uses an outcomes-based ‘train the trainer’ model to achieve this, ensuring we maximize the utility of available resources in order to achieve long term and sustainable outcomes in community healthcare. ISTIH clinical volunteers travel to a region and teach skills training and ‘up-skilling’ courses to local allied health workers and students, with the view that once clinicians have gained such knowledge, they can pass this on to others, and so forth, as part of a continuing chain of impact or ‘ripple effect’.
The Institute’s current engagements include providing ongoing support for the development of emergency medicine in Myanmar (Burma) and Nepal, and maternal and child health in Papua New Guinea. ISTIH also offers an Elective Placement Scholarship to facilitate bilateral exchange between medical students of the University of Western Australia and University of Indonesia. More information about our work can be found via our website.
ISTIH is grateful for the support of our core partners, the Department of Health and Aging of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia (UWA). The Institute’s head office is located at UWA Claremont campus.