Emergencies, Disaster Risk and Humanitarian Actions Program

This year, the International Training on Disaster Medicine (ITDM) has been enrolled in the program. This helps us ensure that the trainings related to the topic of Emergencies, Disaster Risk and Humanitarian Action are being streamlined and followed up. Find here two articles from the latest ITDMs, during the pre-GA in Egypt in February and at SRT Kenya in April. Thanks to Mohammed and Morgan, TdmT graduates, for their contribution and support.

ITDM pre MM – How far do we need that? – Mohammed Yasser Elsherbeny

The history of disaster is as old as humanity. Most of the disasters are not predictable. They can occur anytime and anywhere and we need to realize that there is no system which is immune against disasters. Definition of disaster should be pushed beyond the general concept of earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami waves, to include any situation of imbalance between needs and resources. Not only human resources and loss of lives but also different kinds of resources such as infrastructures, economy, food and water. Disaster medicine is the area of medical specialization serving the dual areas of providing health care to disaster survivors and providing medically related effort in disaster management. Disaster medicine specialists provide insight, guidance and expertise on the principles and practice of medicine both in the disaster impact area and evacuation facilities to emergency management professionals, hospitals, healthcare facilities, communities and governments. The objective of all disaster management is to reduce the occurrence and/or the impact of catastrophic situations on life, environment, and property. This management can be expressed by disaster cycle and its four phases, Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. Training health care providers and medical students in disaster response is one of the most important aspects of the preparedness phase. Hence, we conducted our International Training on Disaster Medicine (ITDM) during the IFMSA Pre-March Meeting 2018 at Hurghada, Egypt. It is a training provided by medical students to undergraduate students. Twenty medical students from 16 different countries attended this three-day interactive workshop about disaster response. The workshop included sessions about pre-hospital management, triage in disaster situations, hospital management, international humanitarian laws, international coordination and cluster systems, and psychological first aid to disaster survivors. The training was conducted through lectures, table top simulations of pre-hospital, hospital scenarios and a complete disaster scenario in addition to a real size simulation about a mass shooting incidence. This workshop was conducted by disaster medicine trainers graduated from the Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine (CRIMEDIM), Piemonte Orientale University, Novara, Italy, where they develop the training outline and scientific content. Over the last century, the number of disasters has remarkably increased, indicating that future generations of physicians will be called upon to provide mass casualty treatment to an even greater extent than before. That is why disaster medicine can not be considered any more as an act of some brave and valiant healthcare, it should be a defined medical discipline. Moreover, trainings in disaster medicine is a must to improve our skill in disaster response and disaster management as a whole.

ITDM in Eastern Africa Region – Morgan Ngunjiri
Along the sandy beaches of Diani saw the first of its kind. The very first ITDM  in the country, Kenya, and wider region. Expectations and excitement ran high in equal measure as participants from 6 nationalities drawn from across the world presented, eager to learn and impact their respective communities with the newly picked up skills and knowledge.
Our journey had begun 2 weeks prior with Pre-ITDM online training modules. This new concept was advised by the need to emphasise certain competencies in Disaster Medicine and give participants enough time to go through key concepts and reflect on them. Top on our list of competencies were Disaster Risk Reduction and humanitarian field response – Sphere, humanitarian Charter and minimum standards. Through a set of interactive exercises, videos and literature, the participants’ appetites we teased, leaving them wanting for more as they awaited the on-site training.
The 3 days of training were a frenzy of activity, garnished with lots of fun and laughs but most importantly reflections on our current state of disaster preparedness as a region. The participants displayed an impressive grasp on content judging from their assessments and execution of table top simulations. Different from previous trainings was our emphasis on advocacy. We stressed that we were building up advocates to influence policy. It’s our hope that the advocacy emphasis resonates in our participants way of thinking, stirring them to be next leaders in the field of DRR.
As organisers, our objectives were met. We got stellar participation from our trainees, we had fun, we exchanged knowledge and we continue to build a network of medical students interested in Disaster Medicine.


Isabel Jimenez Camps, Program Coordinator on Emergencies, Disaster Risk and Humanitarian Actions

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