Emergencies, Disaster Risk and Humanitarian Actions

Thanks to the pre-GA International Training on Disaster Medicine (ITDM), the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Disaster Settings program stream, the presence of great program related activities during Activities Fair and the discussions around DM held in the african and american regional sessions, this last March Meeting was a blast for members involvement in this topic!

You are not organising an activity in your NMO around this topic yet?

Disasters and humanitarian crises are a growing issue where the role of healthcare workers it´s crucial. We, as  future health care professionals, need to take an active role in not just disaster response, but prevention, preparedness and mitigation. Besides, we should not wait until we are physicians to start raising awareness and building capacity around this critical issue.

So wait no more! If you feel interest about this area but don’t really know where to start from, don´t hesitate to send me an email and we can discuss about ideas for your new activity.

You are already organising an activity related to this program but you are asking yourself…

Why should I enrol my activity in the program?

Programs are relevant to you because

  • This will help your activity to get recognition from the IFMSA, allowing you to use IFMSA corporate identity.
  • It contributes to a fruitful exchange of ideas between different activities’ coordinators, and it is an important source of meaningful collaboration between NMOs.
  • If wished, you can get feedback and assistance from the Program Coordinator and other people working in activities implementation and follow up.

Furthermore, we are currently having 4 Small Working Groups on capacity building in DM for the Americas and Africa’s region, and to develop ITDM guidelines.

If you are interested in knowing more about the SWGs or about the enrolment process and scope of this program, do not hesitate to send me an email at: [email protected]

Loads of us are taking action by organising activities at a local level. As an example, find below the description of an activity by FEVESOCEM Venezuela. Thanks to Luis Torres, former NORP, for his contribution and support:

“Emergencies in disasters and humanitarian actions”

As students, we have a flag that our beliefs as autonomous human beings and members of our society we could collaborate and create in our small places the environment we desire.

“Emergencies in disasters and humanitarian actions”, was a workshop developed by Luis Torres, in the physical spaces of Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), through the development of the “X GA of FEVESOCEM”. It consists in some activities as trainings on first aid matters, CPR and the acute management of patients in emergencies triage.

Therefore, it is important to highlight that the main topic of this workshop was “Humanitarian actions”, an international right consisting on the application of actions during natural disasters or the damage caused by armed conflicts benefiting the victims of them, with the object of relieving their discomfort, guaranteed their subsistence and to defend their rights and dignity. In turn, those actions are ruled by some principles: “Humanity” who pursue offering attention through human suffering when it is needed, protecting and saving lives; “Impartiality”, without discrimination of any kind and only favoring cases by its urgency; with “Independency” splitting their objectives from politics, economy or military interest; and “Neutrality” avoiding to take sides on controverted matters.

This subject was given to the participants as a guide about the functions and features of a good volunteer and how it should be done the support of our communities in case of a tragedy, making particular emphasis that it is vital that the volunteer shows itself prepared and resilient, who function as a guide in the middle of overwhelming emotions and to help to canalize and figure out how to focus along the affected ones, to find an effective method of solutions.

Once the review of the theoretical and informative part of the workshop was done, the participants started a simulated practice trying to integrate and apply the knowledge acquired during these hours and then to proceed to execute task and strategies to help them in to act as a volunteer in a determinate situation.

This workshop is a call for action. To pay attention, because disasters are unpredictable and unkind.  Therefore, take part of this kind of activities, promote them not just at a local level or directed only to medical students, if not general public will bring a positive impact on the management of this situations.

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

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