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Emergency Response and Disaster Management




Through webinar software provided by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), the interactive sessions allow students in the region to interact with the Harvard Faculty, and submit questions on social media.

South Asia is particularly vulnerable to disasters, from terrorist attacks, to flooding, to earthquakes that can affect large populations. In order to address these humanitarian crises, the fundamentals of mass casualty management are critical.

These interactive webinars highlighted the work being done to systematically improve the response to emergencies in urban settings.


Incident Command
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Shawn D’Andrea, MDInstructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Fellow, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
This seminar taught incident command, which is a simple organizational structure that allows a coordinated thoughtful response when the needs of the crisis overwhelm the resources.

Click here to read about the webinar and view a full recording.

Mass Casualty Triage
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Usha Periyanayagam, MD, International Emergency Medicine Fellow, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Harvard Medical School
When there are many injured people in an incident, non-medical personal might be needed to begin care of patients. This seminar taught triage, a simple way to determine the priority of patient treatment, and the basics of treatment of patients.

Click here to read about the webinar and view a full recording.

Symposium workshop: Disasters and Mental Health
April 24, 2014
This workshop evaluated the best practices in urban disaster planning and response, and how trauma care be implemented effectively in dense urban settings. Future goals of this ongoing research project are to outline a plan for a needs assessment in urban areas, explore innovative undertakings to promote access to mental healthcare, and discuss the need for training of health workers.

Disaster and Mass Casualty Response in Urban Crisis
Karachi, Pakistan, January 12, 2014
As part of the Contemporary South Asian City Conference, this panel addressed best practice in urban disaster planning and response, and focused on the provision of trauma care in dense urban settings, including issues of on-scene site control, crowd management, emergency triage, and emergency patient transport. Strategies for integrating plans to promote hospital-based casualty reception and burden sharing were discussed.

The team of trainers in Karachi

Trainings for First Responders in Mass Casualty Response
Karachi, Pakistan, January, 2014
A team from Harvard conducted two trainings in Karachi, in partnership with the Aman Foundation. The first training was for senior leaders of Emergency Rooms, while the second was for Ambulance and Field Paramedics, as well as police personnel. Curricula on first responder training and incident command training were created for these trainings.




Next steps for the project:

The team will execute additional trainings for capacity-building by:

  • Educating hospital and emergency personnel, paramedics and managers on field triage and pre-hospital medical treatment, and principles of incident command and disaster response.
  • Promoting the coordination and cooperation at all levels, including provincial, city, hospital and pre-hospital providers.
  • Creating a simulation of mass causality response at paramedic academies and hospitals.
  • Training in security for hospital leaders, paramedics and first responders.
  • Incorporating psychological first aid into the paramedic academy