Our Health Progams Manager Rachel Fletcher recently attended the first WHO working group meeting on National Accreditation for EMTs.  The meeting was hosted by WHO SEARO (South East Asia Reginal Office) in Jakarta, Indonesia on the 2nd & 3rd May and was attended by several ministers of health representatives and members of the Emergency Medical Team community from each of the four WHO regions.

Despite the delay in getting this working group of the ground, it’s importance and value for national capacity building and strengthening cannot be underestimated.  National Emergency Medical Teams, as first line responders to any disaster response are lifesaving, as they will be on the ground well before the arrival of any arrival of international Emergency Medical Teams.  As Rachel discovered, Indonesia is extremely vulnerable to disasters and is considered one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world (see below slide).  It was therefore a fitting choice to kick start this working group meeting in Indonesia, as preparedness planning for national Emergency Medical Teams is critical.

The purpose of the national accreditation working group is to develop a process framework that each country can then adopt and take ownership of, for accrediting their own national Emergency Medical Teams.  This will require each country to consider their own context and the adaptation of the recommended minimum standards that are laid out within the Blue Book.

An example of this adaptation can be seen between a minimum recommended standard for fourteen-day self-sufficiency requirement for international versus three plus days for national Emergency Medical Teams.  The move forward is to ensure that national Emergency Medical Teams are well equipped and trained to be able to respond safely, efficiently and effectively.

This will no doubt be the first of several working group meetings and Rachel will be heavily involved in this moving forward with her background experience and knowledge on Emergency Medical Teams and minimum standard development.