Geneva, 25 May 2018—This month the WHO Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) Secretariat classified the first Type 3 team in Asia—the China International Emergency Medical Team (Sichuan), adding to the global number of self-sufficient teams ready to be deployed to health emergencies should the need arise.
This classification comes on the heels of the tenth anniversary of the First Great Sichuan earthquake where over 69 000 people lost their lives and over 350 000 were injured. China currently has thirty-seven national teams with thousands of trained volunteers ready to respond to emergencies, this team of health professionals from Sichuan is a significant addition to the global health corps that responds to emergencies.
Being classified as a type three team, means that they are able to provide complex inpatient referral level care including intensive care capacity. The field hospital and team can provide high level patient care facilities including complex surgery and surgical sub specialties, infectious disease wards, pediatric care, maternal and reproductive health services and a specialist rehabilitation service. They will support other national and international teams in providing a place to refer complex patients during emergencies and when local facilities are overwhelmed.
“We congratulate China on its achievements and are very grateful for their continuing commitment to the classification process. China is the first Asian country to be classified as a type three EMT and is the third in country to be internationally classified. The three classified teams from China now make up half of the Regions classified teams and we look forward to seeing them quickly deploy to support the response to outbreaks and emergencies.” said Dr Ian Norton, Manager of the WHO EMT Secretariat during the classification ceremony held during the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
A global directory of all classified EMTs is held by the WHO EMT secretariat, to help speed up the mobilization and coordination of teams in the event of an emergency. Countries can call upon bilateral support from these teams, providing self-sufficient well trained groups of clinicians, field hospitals, response teams, and other forms of responders.
About the WHO EMT Initiative
In 2013, the WHO convened the global EMT community to develop an EMT classification system along with minimum quality standards and principles. Effective in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, West African Ebola, Earthquakes in Nepal and Ecuador and Cyclones in Vanuatu and Fiji, EMTs have saved thousands of lives and reduced disability. The WHO EMT initiative now means governments and populations affected by emergencies and outbreaks can be assured of a predictable, timely, and coordinated response by self-sufficient teams with well-trained health personnel