Ministerial Roundtable: Emergency preparedness
AbstractThe WHO South-East Asia Region, prone to events from various hazards, requires a comprehensive approach to address these hazards in a strategic manner. Scaling up emergency risk management in countries is one of the Regional Flagship Priorities of since 2014. It currently follows a pragmatic approach of “sustain, accelerate and innovate” in all-hazard emergency preparedness, operational readiness and response for the safety and security of populations in the Region. Building on several successful interventions undertaken by Member States to strengthen emergency preparedness, enhancing the resilience of populations and national systems requires sustained efforts and investments. Adequate political and financial commitment for risk-informed development planning are yet to be garnered and it is in these areas that further innovation and action is required for comprehensive preparedness capabilities to be installed. Member States need to align domestic and international investments with the priorities articulated in their national action plans for health security. The WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, in consultation with Member States and partners, has developed a five-year Regional Strategic Plan to strengthen public health preparedness and response and an all-hazards Regional Risk Communication Strategy as a guide for use by Member States in the Region. A shift from “managing disasters to managing risks” needs to be implemented with a One Health approach, factoring in public–private partnerships, safety and vulnerability mapping of infrastructure for critical health services, and capacity-building of national emergency medical teams and national focal points (NFPs) for International Health Regulations (IHR). A web-enabled online portal of the Regional Knowledge Network of IHR NFPs and partners will be established and hosted at the Global Knowledge Network for sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices relating to IHR implementation. Work in improving operational readiness and risk-informed planning is ongoing and needs to be scaled up. Further, to accelerate all-hazard health security, the preparedness stream under the South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund will be consolidated to strengthen key aspects such as disease surveillance, development of a diverse health emergency workforce and emergency-resilient health facilities. Investment in emergency risk management, emergency preparedness and operational readiness is a long-term prudent strategic action for sustaining gains from development processes. The attached Working Paper was presented to the High-Level Preparatory Meeting for its review and recommendations. The HLP Meeting reviewed the paper and made the following recommendations for consideration by the Seventy-second Session of the Regional Committee: Actions by Member States (1) Support strengthening of preparedness systems and capabilities in countries, especially at the subnational level, covering related aspects. (2) Advocate for and provide substantial domestic investment for preparedness. (3) Continue support for and consider contribution towards sustaining the preparedness stream of SEARHEF as committed under resolution SEA/RC69/R6. Actions by WHO (1) Provide global guidance tools and facilitate implementation of NAPHS for better preparedness (e.g. EOCs, EMTs, mass casualty management, mock drills). (2) Facilitate the mobilization of resources, and garner support and foster partnerships with key stakeholders for preparedness in the Region.
World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2019). Ministerial Roundtable: Emergency preparedness. World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/327903