How the ARCH Project Could Contribute to Strengthening ASEAN Regional Capacities on Disaster Health Management (DHM)

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2022 Feb;37(S1):s30-s43. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X22000061.


Objective: The Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project) developed Regional Collaboration Drills (RCDs) and is proposing an ASEAN Academic Network to strengthen capacity in disaster health management (DHM) in ASEAN Member States (AMS), as well as developing a standard training curriculum in DHM. This study aims to clarify the impacts and sustainability of the ARCH Project.

Methods: The four previous RCDs and the enhancement of academic activities were reviewed.

Results: The ARCH Project developed the RCDs with simulation exercises based on possible disaster scenarios in each host country to test and validate the capacity of AMS International Emergency Medical Teams (I-EMTs), the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for I-EMT coordination, and regional tools, as well as the relevant domestic SOPs of the host countries for receiving international assistance. Following the RCD in Thailand, three AMS: Viet Nam, Philippines, and Indonesia, all of which are considered disaster-prone, successfully hosted RCDs with significant improvements. The project also established a sub-working group (SWG) to develop a standard curriculum in DHM. Two curricula developments, the Basic Course on DHM and In-Country Course for Coordination on EMTs, are on-going as part of the project activity. The establishment of the ASEAN Academic Network and the ASEAN Institute for DHM (AIDHM) are currently in the endorsement process of the ASEAN health sector.

Conclusion: The RCDs are very effective to test and to validate the SOP and regional tools developed, providing opportunities for AMS I-EMT to familiarize the tools, as well as for host countries to assess their coordination capacity for receiving international assistance and identifying the country's specific challenges, and verifying ASEAN regional coordination mechanism. The development of the standard curriculum can enhance regional capacity both in supporting disaster-affected countries and in receiving international assistance. A sustainable capacity development mechanism in DHM is envisaged through the establishment of the ASEAN Academic Network and AIDHM toward the goal of One ASEAN One Response.

Keywords: ARCH Project; ASEAN Academic Network; ASEAN Institute for Disaster Health Management (AIDHM); Regional Collaboration Drill (RCD); Standard Curriculum on Disaster Health Management.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Disasters*
  • Humans
  • Indonesia
  • Organizations
  • Thailand