When an outbreak flares, the more rapid the response, the better the outcome. That’s the focus of the WHO Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) Initiative – to assist organisations and member states to respond effectively by coordinating the deployment of quality assured medical teams in emergencies. Teams must meet certain criteria to be verified, ensuring the delivery of the highest quality care, and there is a strong focus on helping every country develop its own teams, who can arrive where they are needed in the shortest time. UK-Med is excited to announce we are working toward being verified as an ‘Outbreak Response Specialised Care Team’.
The team will be assigned a lead mentor who will guide the team through the process, with the hope of achieving verification in December. This is an interesting development for UK-Med as this is the first time we will undertake this process independently and not as a wider partner consortium. The team will be able to demonstrate good practice examples to train other specialised care teams in outbreak response – with these examples adapted by both national and international emergency medical teams to their own context. Part of this project will include supporting the WHO regional office for Africa with their outbreak response recommendations
Outbreak response was also a key theme within the agenda of the WHO EMT Global meeting held in Bangkok 12th – 14th June. One of the key sessions of the meeting, was ‘Clinical Care Standards in Outbreak Response’. An active discussion ensued amongst the panel speakers, which included Dr.Benjamin Black, who was representing UK-Med, about the use of new therapeutics in clinical case management of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Diphtheria responses. There was interesting discussion around the practical, ethical and operational challenges implementing guidelines developed outside the field – as highlighted during the current Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The meeting also gave our Health Programmes Manager Rachel Fletcher opportunity to meet with READY consortium partners from Mercy Malaysia, Save the Children UK, the WHO regional office in Africa and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies public health response unit. These links and networks are vital for UK-Med and our partners for shared learning and peer support.