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.
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.
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.
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