Published: 13-09-2023 23:01 | Updated: 19-09-2023 13:36

The Centre for Health Crises lends expert support to WHO

People standing in a circle inside a tent
Johan von Schreeb working with the WHO's EMT initative Photo: n/a

The Centre for Health Crises is currently supporting the WHO’s EMT (Emergency Medical Teams) initiative, through mentorship to the Ministries of Health in Georgia and Armenia in their development of EMTs. The director of the Centre, Professor Johan von Schreeb, has just returned from spending ten days in the two countries, working with the Ministries and other partners.

The EMT initiative is intended as a global emergency number, where countries that have been affected by disasters or other health crises can ask for clinical care surge capacity to manage the increased demand for health services following the health crises.

An EMT team is a response capacity with trained staff and equipment, that is able to quickly provide care nationally and internationally in a crisis.

To ensure coordinated and quality response, EMTs sign up for WHO classification that is based on a set of standards (known as the Blue Book). Karolinska Institutet has been central in developing the EMT initiative and actively participate as mentors and verifiers to classify EMTs. 

"I have been a part of developing the EMT initiative since the very start and I am very pleased to see it take on the global shape that it has. As a clinical surgeon in several disasters, I have witnessed the lack of quality and coordination. Good intentions are not enough, we must make sure that disaster response is accountable, coordinated and of best possible quality. The EMT initiative is a process aiming at a global emergency number- system that works together," says Johan von Schreeb.