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The Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project) developed Regional Collaboration Drills (RCDs) and is proposing an ASEAN Academic Network to strengthen capacity in disaster health management (DHM) in ASEAN Member States (AMS), as well as developing a standard training curriculum in DHM. This study aims to clarify the impacts and sustainability of the ARCH Project.
The four previous RCDs and the enhancement of academic activities were reviewed.
The ARCH Project developed the RCDs with simulation exercises based on possible disaster scenarios in each host country to test and validate the capacity of AMS International Emergency Medical Teams (I-EMTs), the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for I-EMT coordination, and regional tools, as well as the relevant domestic SOPs of the host countries for receiving international assistance. Following the RCD in Thailand, three AMS: Viet Nam, Philippines, and Indonesia, all of which are considered disaster-prone, successfully hosted RCDs with significant improvements. The project also established a sub-working group (SWG) to develop a standard curriculum in DHM. Two curricula developments, the Basic Course on DHM and In-Country Course for Coordination on EMTs, are on-going as part of the project activity. The establishment of the ASEAN Academic Network and the ASEAN Institute for DHM (AIDHM) are currently in the endorsement process of the ASEAN health sector.
The RCDs are very effective to test and to validate the SOP and regional tools developed, providing opportunities for AMS I-EMT to familiarize the tools, as well as for host countries to assess their coordination capacity for receiving international assistance and identifying the country’s specific challenges, and verifying ASEAN regional coordination mechanism. The development of the standard curriculum can enhance regional capacity both in supporting disaster-affected countries and in receiving international assistance. A sustainable capacity development mechanism in DHM is envisaged through the establishment of the ASEAN Academic Network and AIDHM toward the goal of One ASEAN One Response.
This paper aims to clarify how the Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project) strengthened regional collaboration mechanisms on disaster health management (DHM) in ASEAN.
The political process and the relevant documents of the ARCH Project were reviewed.
The ARCH Project established the Regional Coordination Committee as a coordination platform for providing strategic direction to the project and strengthening the regional coordination of DHM. Also, the Project Working Groups and Sub-Working Groups were set up as implementation bodies for the project activities with representatives of ASEAN Member States (AMS). With support from DHM experts of Japan and Thailand, a series of discussions were conducted for the development of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Coordination of International Emergency Medical Teams (I-EMTs), regional tools, and collective measures supporting AMS to overcome challenges, and thereby meeting the minimum requirements set by the WHO EMT Initiative. The progress and outputs of the ARCH Project are subsequently elevated to the ASEAN Health Sector for endorsement, the updates are further shared to the Joint Task Force to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (JTF-HADR) for the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response. The initiation of the ARCH Project in July 2016 has resulted in the development of the ASEAN regional collaboration framework, including the establishment of the Regional Coordination Committee on Disaster Health Management (RCCDHM), the SOP for ASEAN I-EMT coordination, and regional tools, such as forms for Medical Record for Emergency and Disaster and Health Needs Assessment. Moreover, further discussions on ASEAN Collective Measures that aim to support AMS to meet the WHO EMT minimum standards and strengthening I-EMT coordination capacity were also conducted. As adopted by the ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting (AHMM) in 2019, the RCCDHM was established as one of the mechanisms to operationalize the Plan of Action to implement the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on DHM.
The contribution of the ARCH Project to strengthen the ASEAN regional capacity in DHM has enhanced the regional coordination platform, with a formalization of RCCDHM as ASEAN’s official regional mechanism, and of the on-going integration process of the SOP for EMT coordination into the ASEAN SASOP.
The Project for Strengthening the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project) is the project under the collaborative framework between the National Institute for Emergency Medicine, Thailand, Ministry of Public Health, and Japan International Cooperation Agency. The project aims to strengthen disaster health management focusing on the International Emergency Team (I-EMT) operation and coordination in ASEAN by using various mechanisms, for example, regional collaboration meeting, regional collaboration drill, training, etc.
The study aims to evaluate the outcomes which ARCH Project’s activities have been facilitating to strengthen the ASEAN disaster health management.
A comparative study is utilized to see the improvement of the ASEAN disaster health management of the current situation and the project’s outputs compared to the previous survey in 2015.
Recent ASEAN disaster health management has been strengthened in three distinctive dimensions: (1.) national capacity of each ASEAN Member States is being strengthened through the project’s training courses; (2.) the ASEAN I-EMT coordination platforms have been set up to the extent that the progress of developing the toolkits such as the Standard Operating Procedures for the Coordination of EMT in ASEAN is at its eighty percent, while the Database of the EMT and their Minimum Requirements and Qualifications are now at its ninety percent; and (3.) Standard reporting forms (medical record and health need assessment form) for all ASEAN member state (AMS) has been developed and fully completed.
The ARCH Project has been facilitating the strengthening of the ASEAN disaster health management through its capacity building endeavors and the creation of collaborative mechanisms for operations and coordination. These activities should be maintained either under the existing or newly created mechanisms in order to build a sustainable collaborative framework.
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