In the wake of multiple disasters happening all over the world and the need for proper disaster preparedness and response, VPS Rockland Hospitals and Paras Hospitals joined hands with Saving Lives (a Project of Rotary Club of Birmingham, UK) to launch the Faculty of Disaster Medicine – North India Chapter on 15th September 2017. The launch was accompanied by a Faculty Development Program from 14th-17th September 2017, held at Lemon Tree Premier, Aerocity, New Delhi. With dignitaries from UN, WHO, CRIMEDIM, NAPC and PHE as faculties, this program was specifically designed for developing countries. The foundation course was designed on the ‘train the trainers’ module to improve the understanding of disasters and how current scientific and clinical knowledge can be used to plan and manage health care needs during disasters. Professor Virginia Murray, the vice-chair of UNISDR was thrilled to attend the program and has promised all support from the UN. The Launch was also graced by the presence of Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General, Health Services, India.
The Faculty of Disaster Medicine – India was launched in Pune, in March 2015. This was the first teaching and learning Faculty for Disaster Medicine in South Asia. Dr Peter Patel from UK is the founder and International Director of this Faculty. His first major project was to rebuild a Primary Health Care Centre near Latur, after the Maharashtra earthquake in India. Since then he has worked towards community rehabilitation post Orissa cyclone, Gujarat cyclone, Bangladesh floods, Gujarat earthquake, Indian Ocean tsunami and most recently the Nepal earthquake. He intends to develop regional faculties like the North India Faculty, all over India, which will then coordinate teaching methods, knowledge database and work together in times of disasters. Peter says “This initiative establishes India in the forefront of countries in the world that address disasters head on”.
The program also focused on mass gatherings and CBRNE. Professor Muzzaffar Ahmed, ex-executive member of NDMA and ex- chairman, ethics committee, MCI, reiterates “Such programs are the need of the hour for India. We will make sure such programs are conducted in a systemic manner on a regular basis, covering all the aspects of Disaster Management”.
Dr James O’Biren, Regional Director of Public Health NHS South West, is a founder member of this Faculty and has worked towards training officials for disaster preparedness for the Jagannath Yatra, Puri. He says “This is very important for the improvement of public health in India”. Dr James P Kingsland opines “The extent of care needed for the preparation, support and aftermath of disasters requires a multidisciplinary approach which includes a primary (community) based service for the recovery, reablement and return to health of affected communities. This Faculty is rising up to the challenge”. Dr Kingsland is the President of the National Association of Primary Care, UK.
The national lead of this Faculty, Dr Tamorish Kole, Chairman, Institute of Emergency Medicine, VPS Rockland Hospital says “Disaster Medical response needs to be based on scientific knowledge and evidence. This program is foundation for doctors of various disciplines to learn, innovate and collaborate to efficiently respond during disasters”. A board member of this Faculty, Dr Punidha Kaliaperumal, Senior Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine, Paras Hospitals, who has done her Masters in Disaster Medicine expresses “India has the manpower and raw resources. With evidence-based training and proper channeling, we as a country can attain international standards in this field. She calls for private-public partnerships in healthcare to work towards this common goal”.
A researcher from CRIMEDIM, Italy Dr Marcelo Dell’Aringa concludes by saying “India is a country facing many challenges regarding disaster management and it is great to see so many capable professionals striving to them”.
The workshop was awarded 21 hours 45 minutes CME Credits by Delhi Medical Council.