“Coordination – that would be the big lesson of Haiti. Haiti was a disaster upon a disaster,” Canadian doctor Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell and HumEthNet member tells Globe and Mail reporter, Affan Chowdhry in a recent article about How past disasters will aid relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Nepal. “There was a complete lack of coordination with foreign medical teams. Everybody and everybody’s cousin seemed to be there internationally. There was no good overarching coordination.”
Redwood-Campbell describes how that experience resulted in a global initiative that is being developed with the help of the World Heath Organization. It aims to improve coordination of foreign medical teams during a large-scale natural disaster, said Dr. Redwood-Campbell. Foreign medical teams pre-approved by the WHO can register with a local authority and outline the medical services they are in a position to provide – whether it’s a rapid deployment field hospital or a basic health unity. In turn, governments requiring urgent help in a disaster situation can quickly decide which foreign medical teams they want to reach out to. It has been used in the Philippines during typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 and the West Africa Ebola crisis.