Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) are part of the World Health Organisation (WHO) response to humanitarian emergencies overseas, such as an earthquake, infectious disease outbreak or tsunami.
Since 2013, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) has been supporting the integration of rehabilitation into the WHO EMT Iinitiative. Today, HI continues to support rehabilitation in emergency settings, both through the WHO initiative and our own emergency rehabilitation teams.
HI’s work alongside the WHO to integrate rehabilitation into EMTs has involved supporting the recruitment of rehabilitation professionals, providing specialist humanitarian training, and working with international organisations and partners to advocate for the importance of rehabilitation. This means that now, as well as surgery and emergency healthcare, patient care includes early rehabilitation, including the provision of essential equipment such as wheelchairs and orthotics, psychosocial support, and onward referral.
HI has also played a key role in EMT deployments to the Philippines (2013), Gaza (2014), Nepal (2015), Samoa (2019) and Lebanon (2020). By linking EMTs to HI’s own field teams operating in disaster zones, we are able to ensure all patients receive long term follow-up care, which until now has been a major challenge for emergency medical teams.
HI has developed a package of resources to support the project. This includes the first ever clinical manual on rehabilitation in disasters, a briefing paper on disaster management for physiotherapists, a "do's and don’ts" guide for rehabilitation professionals responding to disasters, and a handbook on Early Rehabilitation in Conflict and Disasters that has an accompanying free e-learning course.
By providing free clinical and humanitarian training for health professionals, we aim to strengthen the global humanitarian community. We have worked closely with many global professional groups to ensure all our training meets international standards of excellence.
WHO rehabilitation standards for emergency teams