Saturday 26 November 2022 - 5:16:18 pm

New WHO strategy aims to strengthen rapid response to health emergencies


YEREVAN, 5th October, 2022 (WAM) -- Amid mounting health emergencies globally – such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related crises – the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday announced an initiative to strengthen rapid response.

The Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) 2030 Strategy was launched at a meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, bringing together health workers, technical experts and international partners from 110 countries.

EMTs are groups of health professionals, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, support workers and logisticians. They are trained and prepared to provide immediate support during an emergency.

The more than 500 people attending the meeting are part of the EMT Network, which spans WHO’s six global regions.

The new strategy is the blueprint to continue to development of a network of effective and high-performing national, subnational and regional EMTs, in line with the agency's classifications and standards.

“As we build a new and stronger architecture for health emergency preparedness and response, a rapidly deployable global health emergency corps will be vital, building on the experience and capacities of Emergency Medical Teams,” said the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his opening statement.

“The EMT 2030 strategy envisions a world in which every country has the ability to respond rapidly and effectively to national emergencies, leveraging regional and sub-regional capacities to support vulnerable communities and others in need.”

The gathering also provides an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned from the response to multiple emergencies, such as the pandemic, now in its third year.

The global crisis has created an especially challenging context for emergency response in many countries.

For example, demand has increased for specialised skills on infection prevention and control, and the management of severe respiratory infection cases.

The WHO network has deployed nearly 200 international EMTs to support response in 67 countries, highlighting how specialised care teams support both a country’s response while building national capacities. 

WAM/Tariq Al Fahaam/ Amjad Saleh