Time for order in chaos! A health system framework for foreign medical teams in earthquakes

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012 Feb;27(1):90-3. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X11006832.


The number of reported natural disasters is increasing, as is the number of foreign medical teams (FMTs) sent to provide relief. Studies show that FMTs are not coordinated, nor are they adapted to the medical needs of victims. Another key challenge to the response has been the lack of common terminologies, definitions, and frameworks for FMTs following disasters.In this report, a conceptual health system framework that captures two essential components of health care response by FMTs after earthquakes is presented. This framework was developed using expert panels and personal experience, as well as an exhaustive literature review.The framework can facilitate decisions for deployment of FMTs, as well as facilitate coordination in disaster-affected countries. It also can be an important tool for registering agencies that send FMTs to sudden onset disasters, and ultimately for improving disaster response.

MeSH terms

  • Disaster Planning*
  • Earthquakes*
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Relief Work*
  • Triage / organization & administration*
  • Workforce