An increasing number of international emergency medical teams are deployed to assist disaster-affected populations worldwide. Since Haiti earthquake those teams have been criticised for ill adapted care, lack of preparedness in addition to not coordinating with the affected country healthcare system. The Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) initiative, as part of the Word Health Organization’s Global Health Emergency Workforce program, aims to address these shortcomings by improved EMT coordination, and mechanisms to ensure quality and accountability of national and international EMTs. An essential component to reach this goal is appropriate education and training. Multiple disaster education and training programs are available. However, most are centred on individuals’ professional development rather than on the EMTs operational performance. Moreover, no common overarching or standardised training frameworks exist. In this report, an expert panel review and discuss the current approaches to disaster education and training and propose a three-step operational learning framework that could be used for EMTs globally. The proposed framework includes the following steps: 1) ensure professional competence and license to practice, 2) support adaptation of technical and non-technical professional capacities into the low-resource and emergency context and 3) prepare for an effective team performance in the field. A combination of training methodologies is also recommended, including individual theory based education, immersive simulations and team training. Agreed curriculum and open access training materials for EMTs need to be further developed, ideally through collaborative efforts between WHO, operational EMT organizations, universities, professional bodies and training agencies. Keywords: disasters; education; emergencies; global health; learning
Background: Climate extremes will increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters worldwide. Climate-related natural disasters were anticipated to affect 375 million people in 2015, more than 50% greater than the yearly average in the previous decade. To inform surgical assistance preparedness, we estimated the number of surgical procedures needed.
Methods: The numbers of people affected by climate-related disasters from 2004 to 2014 were obtained from the Centre for Research of the Epidemiology of Disasters database. Using 5,000 procedures per 100,000 persons as the minimum, baseline estimates were calculated. A linear regression of the number of surgical procedures performed annually and the estimated number of surgical procedures required for climate-related natural disasters was performed.
Results: Approximately 140 million people were affected by climate-related natural disasters annually requiring 7.0 million surgical procedures. The greatest need for surgical care was in the People’s Republic of China, India, and the Philippines. Linear regression demonstrated a poor relationship between national surgical capacity and estimated need for surgical care resulting from natural disaster, but countries with the least surgical capacity will have the greatest need for surgical care for persons affected by climate-related natural disasters.
Conclusion: As climate extremes increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters, millions will need surgical care beyond baseline needs. Countries with insufficient surgical capacity will have the most need for surgical care for persons affected by climate-related natural disasters. Estimates of surgical are particularly important for countries least equipped to meet surgical care demands given critical human and physical resource deficiencies.