Ensuring quality in the Health emergency management response

Case Study Submitted by: Bethany Halpin and Bronte Martin
Country: All

Emergency Medical Teams are an important part of the global health workforce and have a specific role. Any doctor, nurse or paramedic team coming from another country to practice healthcare in an emergency needs to come as a member of a team. That team must have training, quality, equipment and supplies so it can respond with success, rather impose a burden on the national system.

Disasters and disease outbreaks can occur at any moment and in any place in the world, often wreaking havoc and disrupting and threatening lives in communities. Coordination is key to reducing the avoidable loss of life and the burden of disease and disability, coordination. Uncoordinated medical team deployment during an emergency can significantly disrupt national emergency coordination plans, which can lead to the depletion of national resources and, in some cases, unnecessary disabilities and death [1]

The World Health Organisations (WHO) Emergency Medical Teams Initiative was launched in 2016 to assist organisations and member states to build capacity and strengthen health systems. It does this by coordinating the deployment of quality assured medical teams in emergencies. When a disaster strikes or an outbreak flares, the more rapid the response, the better the outcome.

To date, 22 teams have been classified as meeting the criteria, with an additional 70 teams working towards classification.

The Global Emergency Medical Team Initiative enables countries to

  • Improve their own national capacity, which they are then able to use to assist other countries in emergencies.
  • Accept and use Emergency Medical Teams Initiative in a timely, coordinated manner.
  • Host governments and affected populations can depend on Emergency Medical Teams Initiative from the list to arrive trained, equipped and capable of providing the intervention promised. Victims and their families can expect the clinical teams treating them to be of a safe minimum standard.
  • Each team has unique individuals with various skill sets. Identifying these differences and placing them into the field requires coordination and communication to ensure the correct gaps are filled. Emergency Medical Teams Initiative staff help facilitate and coordinate this placement.[2]

Nursing impact:

Bronte Martin has 22 years’ experience as a Registered Nurse and 17 years in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve. She has witnessed first-hand the destruction and devastation of sudden-onset disasters, outbreaks, and other emergencies on patients, their families and communities. Bronte was seconded to the WHO Emergency Medical Teams Secretariat in Geneva for six months during 2015/16 to develop and establish the Global Classification, Mentorship and Verification program; ensuring validated, quality international Emergency medical care is delivered in response to Sudden Onset Disasters [3]

Bronte is passionate about nursing and the leading role nurses play in the development of improved quality health outcomes. She believes that nurses are the core and frontline of the collective medical workforce, playing a critical role in contributing to national, regional and global emergency health response capacities.



National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) (2018), Bronte Martin, viewed November 2018 https://www.nationaltraumacentre.nt.gov.au/about-us/our-people/ms-bronte-martin

World Health Organisation (2017), Strengthening Country Coordination of Emergency Medical Teams, viewed November 2018, https://extranet.who.int/emt/sites/default/files/EMTCC_PhotoStory.pdf

World Health Organisation (2018), Emergency Medical Teams, viewed November 2018,  https://extranet.who.int/emt/

  1. World Health Organization. Strengthening Country Coordination of Emergency Medical Teams. 2017 [cited 2018 30 November]; Available from: https://extranet.who.int/emt/sites/default/files/EMTCC_PhotoStory.pdf
  2. World Health Organization. Emergency Medical Teams. 2018 [cited 2018 30 November]; Available from: https://extranet.who.int/emt/
  3. National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC). Bronte Martin. 2018 [cited 2018 30 November]; Available from: https://www.nationaltraumacentre.nt.gov.au/about-us/our-people/ms-bronte-martin

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