Strengthening rapid response capacities through Rapid Response Teams and Emergency Medical Teams

Wednesday, 3 April 2024

Rapid response teams (RRTs) and Emergency medical teams (EMTs) are programs that aim to enhance emergency management and build response capacity globally to respond to public health events, meet the International Health Regulations requirements, and ultimately contribute to strengthening Global Health Security. As countries globally look for ways to enhance their health emergency capacities to respond to current emergencies as well as be ready for future events, RRTs and EMTs are critical components of any emergency preparedness planning. There is a need for a standardized, global understanding of RRTs and EMTs, and several countries have already integrated or are in the process of integrating RRT and EMT programs.​

To strengthen rapid response capacities through RRTs and EMTs, the Learning Solutions and Training Unit and the Emergency Medical Team Unit at the World Health Organization Headquarters and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a global consultation meeting in Lyon, France, from 12 to 15 December 2023. Participants were representatives of 17 countries from the six WHO regions: Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia and Turkey.

The meeting aimed to identify conditions and steps for integration of RRT and EMT programmes, with the ultimate goal to ensure greater efficiency and optimized use of resources in emergency preparedness and response.


Photo by Hind Ezzine, WHO LST consultant

The outputs of the meeting will be used to develop guidelines to support integration of RRT and EMT programmes and for advancing the development of an RRT Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning guideline.