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Disasters disturb the balance of medical supply and demand. Because normal supply chains break down in the wake of disasters, it is difficult to deliver daily necessities to affected areas. In addition, without a reliable supply of medical equipment and medicines, the number of sick and injured patients increases.
We propose that emergency medical teams should bring medical equipment and daily necessities when responding to disasters.
The Social Emergency Management Alliance (SEMA) was established in 2017. SEMA is a cooperative system between NGOs and the private sector for disaster relief in Japan. Humanitarian Medical Assistance (HuMA) utilized this system to provide emergency medical assistance during the Western Japan Floods in 2018.
After the flooding, increased amounts of dust caused many cases of conjunctivitis. There were also numerous cases of heat stroke and dehydration, especially in the elderly. We requested SEMA to bring eye drops to wash out dust and isotonic drinks to prevent dehydration and heat stroke to Mabi Town, Okayama. SEMA coordinated with the private sector to provide eye drops and isotonic drinks via a forwarding agent, and we were able to distribute them to affected people and prevent worsening disease.
NGOs working within affected areas can assess the exact needs of affected people in order to avoid waste. Such collaboration through SEMA will allow for more effective disaster relief in the future. It is our hope that more private companies join SEMA to reduce the suffering of disaster victims.
Children are a vulnerable population in disasters. However, there were few pediatricians, neonatologists, and obstetricians in the Japan Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), so disaster medical headquarters had limited knowledge to solve these problems. Pediatric and perinatal disaster liaison coordinators were trained to improve disaster medical management for children and pregnant women since the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake.
To analyze and report the activity of PPDML during these years in Osaka, Japan.
The records of PPDML in major disasters and disaster drills from 2017 to 2018 were reviewed.
The DMAT had disaster drills twice a year in Osaka, and PPDML participated in the drill for the first time in July 2017. In the drill, PPDML coordinated the pediatric and perinatal issues with DMAT and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) in disaster headquarters. In June 20184. months after the drill, PPDML participated for the second time in February 2018 when the North Osaka Earthquake occurred. PPDML coordinated transport of 22 children and babies with congenital heart disease from the damaged National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center Hospital. The operation was finished within 5 hours after requested transportation.
To protect children and pregnant women, cooperation between the disaster medical network and the pediatric and perinatal network is absolutely important for any phase in disaster. Because PPDML had attended in disaster drills before, the experience could make PPDML achieve good performance in a real disaster in North Osaka Earthquake. It can be concluded that cooperation between disaster medical network and PPDML is very useful to manage the disaster issues for children and pregnant women, and the most important thing is to cooperate not only in disaster but also in ordinary days.
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