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Chinese, Russian emergency medical teams granted WHO certification



World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Margaret Chan certified two Russian and one Chinese emergency medical teams (EMTs) as capable of providing critical support to populations affected by natural disasters and disease outbreaks, the organization announced Tuesday.

"We believe that the best response is a national response, a strong ability within a country to respond to its own outbreaks and its own disasters means that it doesn't spread to the next country," said Ian Norton, who leads WHO's work on EMTs.

"These teams are professional and based in their own countries, they would then be offered to their regions and their neighbors if required," he added.

A total of 67 teams from 25 countries are striving to meet WHO standards, with the number expected to rise to as many as 200 teams in the next three years.

Made up of groups of health professionals, EMTs are crucial in providing support to national health systems by delivering clinical care to affected populations.

China's EMT from Shanghai East Hospital, made up of 200 members, underwent comprehensive assessment, evaluation and verification of the team's competence and emergency capacity in April and May this year.

WHO's project was launched in July 2015 to quality-assure and peer-review global teams in light of past shortcomings where medical personnel self-responded without necessarily right skill-set, training, supplies or equipment.

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