As the lead agency for the global pandemic preparedness project, PREPARE, International Medical Corps conducted workshops in Ghana, Indonesia and the Philippines to promote the integration of pandemic preparedness into wider disaster management and response plans. A coalition funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), International Medical Corps PREPARE-initiative works to strengthen the capacity of various countries in Africa and Asia for multi-sector disaster management and pandemic preparedness planning.
International Medical Corps strengthens the capacities of host countries through PREPARE’s “whole- of-society” approach, with involvement from all sectors of society. PREPARE is building on previously funded USAID programs to improve broader pandemic and disaster preparedness through simulation and training exercises to develop collaboration throughout the civil sector, private sector and the government.
In Sogakope, Ghana, International Medical Corps’ PREPARE team, in conjunction with the National Disaster Management Organization, hosted a workshop facilitated by subject matter experts who guided participants to examine the current status of multi-sector pandemic preparedness. The workshop aimed to provide guidance on developing sectoral business continuity plans and included more than 60 participants from the public, governmental and private sectors of Ghanaian society. The objectives of the workshop were to:
- Guide a self-assessment of the current state of pandemic preparedness and in particular sector specific pandemic preparedness
- Present foundational materials to understand best practice in business continuity planning in private industry and government
- Develop sector specific catalog of current capabilities, gaps and critical interdependencies
- Create a sector planning project roadmap with project milestones
- Present an interactive presentation on essential components of crisis communication and media relations to stress their importance in pandemic preparedness planning
International Medical Corps PREPARE in collaboration with the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare, Republic of Indonesia held an event entitled Whole-of-Society Pandemic and Large-Scale Disaster Response Planning: Strengthening Continuity of Essential Operations and Services. The event included two ‘writeshops’ designed to provide participants with the tools and templates necessary to draft national and sectoral pandemic and large-scale disaster response plans, in real-time, over the course of the week.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently recognized the appointment of Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as the first UN global champion for disaster risk reduction. The first to be designated as a global champion by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, President Yudhoyono was recognized for making it a national priority following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami after which International Medical Corps provided a large-scale emergency response.
International Medical Corps PREPARE held similar ‘writeshops’ in the Philippines in coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council – Office of Civil Defense. International Medical Corps has been working with the Republic of Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to improve the country’s ability to respond to public health crises and potential essential service disruptions brought on by influenza pandemics and other global disasters. The PREPARE team, in conjunction with ASEAN, also held a multi-sectoral workshop in Tagaytay in July to strengthen local disaster management and pandemic preparedness planning capabilities.
“The use of pandemic preparedness activities will strengthen basic emergency response capabilities in the country. It will assist in the development of multi-sectoral business continuity plans tailored to pandemic influenza; and further strengthening of cooperative partnerships between private industry and government ministries. The project will aid in the conduct of regular periodic updating of plans based on new developments and gaps identified during simulation exercises or real events…Thus, this weeklong ‘writeshop’ provides us the avenue to once again put on our thinking caps, to work together, collaborate, brainstorm, and agree on a comprehensive, functional and cohesive plan to address eventualities like emerging infectious diseases that may cause setbacks in the development process of the country and importantly, affect many lives of our brethren.”
– Director Ronald Flores, Office of Civil Defense in the Philippines
For more than 27 years, a significant number of International Medical Corps’ responses have included technical assistance for the treatment and potential and emerging pandemic threats. The organization has 4,500 field-based staff, including approximately 200 physicians and public health experts coordinating health interventions worldwide.