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According to a report by the Centre for Science and Environment, India has witnessed some form of natural disaster almost every day in just nine months for the year 2022. These disasters have claimed 2,755 lives, affected 1.8 million hectares of crop area, destroyed over 416,667 houses, and killed close to 70,000 livestock. This surely shows that there is a huge gap when it comes to building a resilient strategy and response system that can cater to such emergencies nation-wide in a more effective manner. More such consultative workshops followed by some real actions being taken, can accelerate not only the idea of such a model but even its implementation on the ground. This can even provide more opportunities for the Startups.

Highlighting that India’s disaster management model has potential to go beyond the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be flexible and agile to deal with exigencies on the ground, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare said, “Being a vast country with diverse terrains and geographies, India can have its own model for disaster or emergency response which can be emulated by other countries. 

Addressing the consultative workshop on the National Emergency Medical Team (NEMT) India, Mandaviya said, “While it is important to learn from global best practises and follow SOPs, let us learn from the national examples of emergency and disaster response in the past few decades and enrich our model from learning and insights from these.” “Multi-sectoral and multilayered learning need to be incorporated in the training and capacity building modules of the national architecture of emergency response and management,” he added. 

The Government of India (GoI) intends to bring together all stakeholders of the NEMT initiative for a two-day workshop to deliberate on the initiative’s policy, strategy, roles, and responsibilities, as well as to prepare a roadmap for integrating the country’s needs for disaster preparedness and aligning health needs during disaster situations in accordance with standard disaster response. 

Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, also present at the workshop, stressed the importance of collaborative efforts among the “multiple building blocks in existence,” including the NDMA, NDRF, state agencies, emergency service providers, trauma centers, et cetera. Noting that these largely work presently in a fragmented state, he highlighted the crucial need for synergising efforts between them to ensure agility, rapid and effective response. 

The National Emergency Medical Team (NEMT) initiative aims to revamp the traditional responsive mode of healthcare manpower deployment in response to disasters and public health emergencies. Globally, it has been seen that EMTs, defined as a group of healthcare professionals providing direct clinical care to populations affected by outbreaks, need to be trained, standardised, and quality assured to give predictable on-ground support to disaster response. The two-day workshop will deliberate on four crucial aspects relevant to emergency medical teams, including system, staff, supplies, and structure. Health emergency prevention, preparedness, and responses form one of the priority areas under the G20 Health Track agenda. This is the first meeting soon after the G20 Health Working Group meeting in Thiruvananthapuram.

InnoHEALTH magazine digital team

Author InnoHEALTH magazine digital team

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