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To effectively respond to this relatively new, complex mandate it is essential to find effective models of coordination to ensure that medical and health services can meet the standards now expected in a disaster situation. This theme explored various models, noting both the strengths that can be built on and the weaknesses that still need to be overcome.
Details of the methods used are provided in the preceding paper. The chairs moderated all presentations and produced a summary that was presented to an assembly of all of the delegates. Since the findings from the Theme 1 and Theme 4 groups were similar, the chairs of both groups presided over one workshop that resulted in the generation of a set of Action Plans that then were reported to the collective group of all delegates.
The main points developed during the presentations and discussion included: (1) preplanning (predisaster goals), (2) information collection (assessment), (3) communication (materials and methods); and (4) response centres and personnel. There exists a need for institutionalization of processes for learning from experiences obtained from disasters.
Action plans presented include: (1) creation of an information and data clearinghouse on disaster management, (2) identification of incentives and disincentives for readiness and develop strategies and interventions, and (3) action on lessons learned from evidence-based research and practical experience.
There is an urgent need to proactively establish coordination and management procedures in advance of any crisis. A number of important insights for improvement in coordination and management during disasters emerged.