Macao has applied to join a global network of emergency services under the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to enhance the city’s capabilities in the event of any outbreaks of disease or of any public emergencies.
The verification process to enable membership of the WHO Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) Initiative was likely to be completed within 18 months, the Health Bureau’s Director, Mr Lei Chin Ion, told reporters on Sunday (8 April).
Preparation for such verification involved some training of local medical professionals and rescue personnel, as well as optimisation of the city’s capabilities in terms of medical equipment, Mr Lei added.
The WHO EMT Initiative involves the assignment of health professionals who globally provide direct clinical care to populations affected by emergencies or disasters. The medical teams work under the WHO guidelines once an incident is declared. The Initiative also supports local health systems under those circumstances.
There are three types of what WHO refers to as Foreign Medical Teams (FMTs) under the WHO EMT Initiative: Type 1 provides outpatient initial emergency care of injuries and other significant healthcare needs; Type 2 offers emergency care and has surgical capabilities; and Type 3 covers complex inpatient referral requiring surgical care and intensive care.
Macao applied to supply a Type 1 FMT under the WHO EMT Initiative. This required well-trained and self-sufficient teams being able to provide medical treatment in the field and at the onset of a disaster. Each team under FMT Type 1 has to provide between 20 and 25 medical professionals and support personnel.
The registration was under the name of “Macao, China”, meaning any future rescue actions would be directed by the National Health Commission, Mr Lei said.
In addition, the Government has been stepping up efforts to strengthen the capabilities of local rescue teams, under the terms of a 10-year plan for disaster prevention and mitigation covering the period 2019 to 2028.