3.1 Emergency Preparedness, Response Planning and Response Operations

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3.1 Emergency Preparedness, Response Planning and Response Operations

Emergency preparedness refers to the development and maintenance of national, intermediate and community/primary level public health emergency response plans for the relevant biological hazards1. This may include the mapping of potential hazards and maintenance of available resources, such as medical equipment stockpiles, contingency infrastructures and communication lines to maintain sufficient level of readiness in the event of a disaster or health crises.  

However, a plan is only as good as its actual implementation. When disaster strikes, available personnel and equipment will need to be mobilised according to the plan. This is usually performed through emergency response operations centre (EOC), which coordinates many disaster and emergency relief efforts. As a target, these EOCs should be able to respond within 120 minutes of an identified public health crises2.  

Cambodia flood risk map (2015)3. Although floods are not necessarily a health crisis, without proper relief, access to medical facilities will become a challenge, infectious diseases will spread much more easily, thus creating a health crisis.

In reality, such level of preparedness is still lacking, in part due to infrastructures in community level that has yet to be fully developed. Your task is to discuss a solution to help with emergency response operations, specifically related to public health crises, by improving its resiliency, level of readiness and sustainability while keeping in mind the humanitarian impact it brings. 

Example: Most advanced medical equipment requires electricity to run. However, when disaster struck, access to electricity may become scarce or non-existent. One way to ensure this is by creating a portable electricity generator that is easily accessible in an emergency. Design an engineering solution that can supplement energy needs of disaster responder and local communities in the event of an emergency. 

Example: How can we improve infrastructure resiliency, e.g. roads, ports, electrical lines, etc. in a disaster prone area, such that when disaster strikes, the infrastructure will still be up and running for emergency relief operations to utilise. 

Related Ideas: Healthcare access, availability of equipment and infection control practices 

Further Readings:

[1] Joint External Evaluation of IHR Core Capacities of The Kingdom of CambodiaMission Report, World Health Organisation 2016
[2] Ibid.
[3] HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE FORUM Contingency Plan, https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/sites/www.humanitarianresponse.info/files/documents/files/hrf_contingency_plan_revised_april_2015.pdf
[4] WHO – Health and wellbeing of Cambodians post flood, https://www.who.int/cambodia/news/detail/16-10-2019-preparedness-crucial-to-protect-health-and-well-being-of-cambodians-affected-by-floods
[5] Canavati, Sara. (2013). The Cambodia School Pandemic Preparedness Plan. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/297721088_The_Cambodia_School_Pandemic_Preparedness_Plan