What to know about the European Medical Corps

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 08 March 2016

The European Union recently launched the European Medical Corps, a certified team of experts in public health and emergency medical response who can be rapidly deployed in the event of an emergency. How will it work and what talent is needed? Photo by: Martine Perret / UNMEER / CC BY-ND

One of the biggest realizations of the aid world at the height of the Ebola crisis was the lack of sufficient response teams ready for immediate deployment in the event of a public health emergency. Ebola response suffered from gaps in human resources, from qualified health care workers to logisticians and engineers who were willing and able to face the risks on the ground.

These positions were eventually filled, but recruiters were pushed to the limit, different countries’ militaries got involved to bring in logistical and engineering support, and various humanitarian players got embroiled in a blame game. The World Health Organization was heavily criticized for its slow response to the crisis and delayed declaration of a public health emergency.

Learning from the Ebola emergency, the WHO launched a unit in late 2014 tasked with building a global registry of foreign medical teams that can be immediately tapped into in the event of a similar crisis.

Now, the European Union has joined the effort with the launch of the European Medical Corps, a certified team of experts and professionals in public health and emergency medical response who can be rapidly deployed in the event of an emergency. The medical corps — identified as Europe’s contribution to the Global Health Emergency Workforce under WHO — is expected to include emergency medical teams, public health and medical coordination experts, mobile biosafety laboratories, medical evacuation planes and logistical support teams.

This article is for Devex Members
For full access to the content of the article sign in or join Devex.

About the author

Jenny lei ravelo 400x400
Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.


Join the Discussion