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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1356-1357
Expanding the reach and utility of emergency medical teams to ensure appropriate management of disasters


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Expanding the reach and utility of emergency medical teams to ensure appropriate management of disasters. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1356-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Expanding the reach and utility of emergency medical teams to ensure appropriate management of disasters. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 10];10:1356-7. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1356/196824


Since the beginning of the current century, the number of disasters (both natural and manmade), have increased in numbers, as well as, their severity leading to massive destruction and significant loss of lives, as well as long-term mental consequences.[1] More often than not, the public health sector of the disaster-affected nations often fail to cope up with the hazard owing to the lack of preparedness, resource constraints, shortage of health personnel, financial constraints, and deficiencies in the communication and social mobilization activities.[1],[2] In short, the disaster-affected regions are very much dependant on assistance from an external source to respond to the event and the adverse consequences or challenges emerging in due course.[1],[2]

Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) refer to a group of health personnel (including clinician, nursing staff, paramedical workers, and so on), which play a significant role in the treatment of disaster-affected individuals.[2],[3] The members of the team are the trained professionals, representing some government, or military, or voluntary/international organizations, and generally perform their duties in accordance with the minimum standards established by the World Health Organization, in a self-sufficient manner without causing any additional load on the affected nation's health system.[2]

These teams constitute a major constituent of the global health workforce and will provide a predictable and time-based response in any emergency.[1] However, their success is eventually determined by their clinical expertise/skills, training status, logistics support, and the level of coordination between the team members.[2],[4],[5] Even though, the initial vision of the team was to provide trauma care with surgical focus, they show their immense utility in the management of an outbreak related response as evidenced in the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West-Africa.[1],[2]

They are also trained to respond to the special needs of the vulnerable group of populations, including those with preexisting morbidities, to ensure that the continuum of care is sustained.[2],[3],[4]

Acknowledging the importance of EMT in successfully containing the situation, there is a great need to address the issues that can minimize the overall output of them.[2] It has been decided to establish three coordination cells in Europe, the Americas, and South-East Asia, and the so-called trained coordinators will be extremely crucial in providing the desired leadership and instructions to expand the number of teams.[2],[5] At the same time, the affected nations should also look for building a local capacity by recruiting and training specialized personnel to ensure that no additional foreign EMT are needed to manage the disaster.[2],[3]

In addition, a global registration system has been developed with an aim to verify the quality of the team, improve the level of coordination, offer timely response, and provide a platform for the discussion or appropriate modification in the functioning of the teams.[2] For the disaster-affected nations, this system provide an option to call for such preregistered team and rest assured regarding the quality of services they will deliver.[2],[5]

To conclude, EMT represent an effective solution to the global challenge of late or ineffective response to the emergencies. Further, it plays a significant role in strengthening of the skills and capacity building of the local teams to respond to their own disasters and eventually be in a better state to help some other nations in the future.

Acknowledgement

S.R.S. contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

P.S.S. contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

J.R. contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Deployment of foreign medical teams: An initiative to reduce the aftermaths of public health emergencies. Biol Med 2015;S3:006.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health OrganizationEmergency Medical Teams and World Health Organization; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/hac/techguidance/preparedness/foreign_medical_teams/en/. [LastAccessed 2016 May 24].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Read DJ, Holian A, Moller CC, Poutawera V. Surgical workload of a foreign medical team after Typhoon Haiyan. ANZ J Surg 2016;86:361-65.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.
Djalali A, Ingrassia PL, Corte FD, Foletti M, Gallardo AR, Ragazzoni L. Identifying deficiencies in national and foreign medical team responses through expert opinion surveys: implications for education and training. Prehosp Disaster Med 2014;29:364-68.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health OrganizationStrengthening the coordination of Emergency Medical Teams; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/features/2016/coordination-emergency-medical-teams/en/. [LastAccessed 2016 May 22].  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196824

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