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The ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Disaster Health Management (ALD on DHM) was adopted at the 31st Summit in Manila in 2017. The Plan of Action (POA) to implement the ALD on DHM was adopted by the ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting in 2019, with Regional Collaboration Committee on Disaster Health Management (RCCDHM) established as a primary implementing mechanism under the purview of ASEAN Health Cluster two and Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development (SOMHD) to operationalize the implementation of the POA with its priority areas and targets to be realized by 2025. The first RCCDHM Meeting was organized in-person in Bangkok in 2020. The RCCDHM is composed of two representatives from each ASEAN member state (AMS), one representative from the ASEAN Secretariat and one representative from AHA Centre, and the secretariat role for the RCCDHM is carried out by the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. The RCCDHM Meeting decided to develop the Matrix of Detailed Activities (MDA) addressing the five priority areas of the POA-ALD on DHM.
The RCCDHM Meeting organized a core group consisting of the Philippines and Thailand to develop the MDA which identifies information on activities, expected outputs, indicators, lead country, source of support, and the timeline for achieving objectives of the POA. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online communication was applied to discuss and coordinate among the AMS.
The core group developed the draft MDA in consultation with the ASEAN Secretariat/Health Division. After a series of discussions, the RCCDHM endorsed the MDA which confirms necessary activities and commitment of AMS.
The review and endorsement process for the MDA will be elevated to the higher level meetings in the ASEAN Health sector for final approval. The RCCDHM also confirmed to strengthen collaboration with other ASEAN initiatives, non-health ASEAN sectors, UN, or other international partners, and the ARCH Project.
ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Disaster Health Management (ALD on DHM) (2019-2025) was adopted by the ASEAN Summit in November 2017 to strengthen the DHM system at national and regional levels, and the Plan of Action (POA) to implement the ALD on DHM was endorsed by the ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting in August 2019. Knowledge Management (KM) is one of the five priority areas in the POA with the relevant targets including the regional academic network establishment, organization of regional academic conferences, publication of the ASEAN academic journal on DHM, and so forth. The ARCH Project Phase2 (ARCH2), which started in January 2022, focuses on aiming to support implementation of this POA.
The ARCH2 will support the establishment of the ASEAN Academic Network on DHM (AAN-DHM) and the ASEAN Institute for DHM (AIDHM). In addition, the ARCH2 will support the promotion of academic activities on DHM which shall be conducted under the AAN-DHM in collaboration with the AAN member institutes and AIDHM.
Terms of Reference (TOR) of AAN-DHM was endorsed by the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting in May 2022. Afterward, the National Focal Point (NFP) institutes for the AAN were nominated among all ASEAN Member States (AMS). The first meeting of representatives of the NFP was held in September 2022 to discuss several areas such as governance of the AAN-DHM, the organization plan for the ASEAN Academic Conference (AAC), and the publication plan of the ASEAN Journal. Simultaneously, the TOR of the AIDHM was prepared for further discussion of its establishment.
The AAN has already been established to initiate the preparation of its academic activities. The AAC on DHM is scheduled to be held in November 2023 in Indonesia as the first regional event for accelerating academic activities toward enhancing KM on DHM in the region under the AAN-DHM.
Knowledge management on Disaster Health Management (DHM) is one of the priority areas in the Plan of Action to implement the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on DHM (POA/ ALD DHM) (2019-2025). The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been implementing the Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project) since 2016 to assist the ASEAN region in strengthening coordination capacity on DHM. A regional training course on DHM for ASEAN member states (AMS) in Japan was proposed to be implemented in 2022 as a JICA’s Knowledge Co-creation Program (KCCP).
The training curriculum of the KCCP included emergency and disaster medicine in Japan, international trends on DHM, and underwent reviews by AMS representatives of the ARCH Project. Prior to the training, participants were required to prepare country reports (CRs) outlining information on legislation, system and structure related to emergency and disaster medicine, as well as systems to receive international emergency medical teams (I-EMTs).
The four-week KCCP course contained a trial implementation of a four-day training program for receiving I-EMTs and coordination among stakeholders in ASEAN disaster response, based on the regional standard curriculum developed by the ARCH Project, and invited experts in DHM not only from Japan but also from AMS as instructors. Participants analyzed and identified challenges on DHM in their countries, and developed draft action plans (APs) to improve the situation through the knowledge obtained from the program.
The draft APs, the training deliverables, will be shared with the ARCH Project, and used to build a support mechanism to achieve national level targets of the POA/ ALD DHM, and the progress will be reflected in the CR in the subsequent year. The KCCP on DHM is expected to facilitate knowledge sharing in AMS and Japan, and contribute to fostering the culture of mutual learning.
The Standard Operating Procedure for Coordination of Emergency Medical Teams in ASEAN (EMT SOP) was developed to facilitate the swift deployment of I-EMTs by ASEAN Member States (AMS) to disaster-affected countries in the ASEAN region and to effectively provide appropriate medical services to the affected population. It is one of the various products and activities by the ARCH Project, which was implemented in collaboration between ASEAN and Japan from 2016 through 2021. The EMT SOP was developed in line with the WHO EMT Initiative, and various WHO forms have been incorporated as ASEAN official forms for the management and coordination of I-EMT.
On the other hand, disaster management in ASEAN is conducted by National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) of each AMS under the coordination of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (SASOP), the sole official document for ASEAN regional collaboration in disasters, and AMS I-EMTs are required to follow the SASOP for their deployment to the affected AMS.
Discussions were held between the NDMOs and MOHs, and a table-top exercise to test the EMT SOP was conducted involving NDMOs and MOHs with the facilitation of the AHA Centre.
The EMT SOP has been incorporated as an additional chapter of the SASOP.
The institutionalization of the EMT SOP is an important milestone in strengthening the ASEAN regional cooperation mechanism on disaster management.
The prime aim of Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project) is to strengthen the disaster health management (DHM) capacity in the context of personal level, Emergency Medical Team (EMT), and the regional collaboration. The ARCH Project was implemented with reference to international trends of DHM and seeks to contribute to the development of global standards.
The project established the Project Working Groups that consisted of representatives of ASEAN Member States (AMS) to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) for international EMT (I-EMT) coordination. Furthermore, it aimed to organize training sessions along with implementation of the regional collaboration drill (RCD) in accordance with I-EMT minimum requirements and in line with coordination standards set by the WHO.
The ARCH Project developed the SOP and common platform for I-EMT coordination, organized training, and conducted RCDs with reference to the WHO’s EMT initiative. Furthermore, it also contributed to the development of the EMT Minimum Data Set (MDS), an international standard DHM tool that underwent testing at the RCDs before the WHO endorsement and its utilization in actual disaster response.
In the process of strengthening ASEAN regional capacity in DHM, the project is constantly capturing international trends and also making significant contributions in the development of global systems and tools.
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