Emergency management during the Nepal earthquake

Due to the increasing number of sudden-onset emergencies and outbreaks that have taken place over the last few decades, it has become increasingly apparent that a country’s national and regional medical emergency management response capacity is best resourced from within its own pool of local health staff.

History has shown that the best response to an emergency is a local response.

Following the 2010 Haitian earthquake the global emergency management response community realized that any international medical response requires globally agreed standards and quality assurance. Coordinated responses are vital to minimise loss of life.

Emergency management specialise Dr Ian Norton

As a result, the WHO published a new set of minimum standards for Foreign (now Emergency) Medical Teams in 2013 (recently updated), authored by a team led by Respond Global’s founder/managing director Dr Ian Norton. Those standards now govern how emergency management assistance is provided globally.

Today, over 130 countries worldwide are currently developing their national medical response teams (EMTs), and at least 100 organizations (NGOs and the Red Cross) are also developing medical rapid response capacity.

Emergency management during floods

It is imperative that these teams are self-sufficient in terms of food, water, safety and security, as well as essential medical equipment, drugs, consumables and facility structures. They need to respond rapidly to any emergency situation, whether this be a mass casualty accident, disaster, trauma from civil unrest or conflict, or disease outbreak. The proper emergency management skills are essential.

Respond Global, formed in early 2020, was established as a social enterprise to provide emergency management assistance and support to those organisations seeking to improve their localised response in times of emergencies in health. We do not seek to replace but rather empower those in charge and those on the frontlines to do their jobs efficiently and safely.

Partnering with EarthTech in June 2020, a global social enterprise that specialises in building and scaling high-impact social ventures that improve people’s lives, and the planet, has created a powerful union that aims to disrupt the emergency response industry as we know it.

Image of Dr Ian Norton courtesy of Gemma Haines / Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.