“Strengthening the Emergency Operation Center of Health Institutions to Respond to Public Health Consequences/Emergencies During and After a Disaster”
Belize City, October 16th, 2012- The Belize Red Cross held a three day workshop from October 16- 18th at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. The Belize Red Cross coordinated the workshop along with the Pan American Health Organization, the Canadian International Development Agency and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The purpose of the workshop is to strengthen existing knowledge on the management and operations of the Emergency Operation Center especially for the Ministry of Health, other health institutions and NGO’s, during and after a disaster or emergency.
The welcome address was given by Lily Bowman, Director General of the Belize Red Cross who welcomed the participants and thanked the organizations that supported the workshop. She also mentioned how this workshop would include disaster response with a focus on health. She then introduced the various facilitators: Ian Glory, Belize Red Cross Volunteer, Tim Murphy, Belize Red Cross Volunteer, Ivan Cabb, PAHO, Maritta Vuori, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Dawn Byng, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and John Bodden, Ministry of Health.
Ian Glory and Tim Murphy began the workshop with a pre- test of the participants’ knowledge as well as an overview of disasters in regards to types of disasters and trends, consequences of disasters and phases of disasters. The discussion continued in the afternoon focusing on the functioning of the Emergency Operations Center.
Maritta Vuori, from Panama, commenced day two of the workshop looking at health services and disasters. The group split into two groups to discuss consequences of disasters on health services and the role of emergency health services in disasters. One main point that came out of the discussion was the need to update disaster plans in Belize. John Bodden then introduced the Safe Hospital Initiative discussing the need of hospitals during and after a disaster. He mentioned that disaster risk is everyone’s business. The afternoon discussion focused on the Health Sector Emergency Management Information System as a primary tool for the management of information in the EOC and then managing public health in emergencies.
The final day included presentations from Dawn Byng on implementing emergency health services as well as Ivan Cabb discussing the Safe Hospital Index tool. At the end of the three days training the participants participated in a simulation exercise where they were tested on the newly obtained knowledge. Group discussion on the exercise and a final post- test concluded the three day workshop. Participants were then awarded certificates of participation.