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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.
Japan DMAT and US DMAT have been collaborating in the past to prepare for expected and unexpected disasters in Japan. Japan is predicting overwhelming disasters on Japanese soil soon, which needs efficient and optimum use of resources in medical assistance, including additional support from overseas, particularly from the US. The Japanese government established a large-scale Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster Emergency Response protocol in 2020. However, this protocol does not include any standard operation procedure (SOP) to receive an international medical team.
Establishing the SOP of receiving medical assistance from US-DMAT based on the WHO International Emergency Team (EMT) initiative.
Collaborated with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) of the United States Health and Human Services, tabletop exercises assuming that a large-scale earthquake occurred during hosting the 2025 Osaka Expo was conducted online meeting system.
Provisional SOP was formed by the Japan research team and ASPR representatives. Even though Japan had several disaster medical assistance collaborations with US DMAT and is well-familiarized with the Classification and Minimum Standards for Emergency Medical Teams, many issues need to be prepared to accept US DMAT.
Numerous procedures need to be conducted to receive US DMAT assistance during a large-scale earthquake in Japan. With this SOP, receiving US medical team assistance will be conducted promptly, eventually saving many lives. This SOP can be modified for other international teams’ acceptance in Japan. It could reference other countries seeking to have SOPs for receiving international medical team assistance in the near future.
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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