In May 2017 Health service personnel, including some military reservist doctors and nurses, participated in an intensive 3-day intensive specialist course for those who may be deployed to international disaster zones worldwide. The cross border Humanitarian Disaster Response Course is sponsored and organised by the Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) cross border health partnership in association with a number of Statutory and non-Governmental bodies, north and south including Irish Aid, and the Department of Defence.
The training, which attracted participants from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain, was held in the United Nations Training School Ireland in the Curragh Camp in Co. Kildare.
This is the fourth time the course has been held and coincided with the visit by HRH The Prince of Wales to the United Nations Training School Ireland as part of The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to Northern Ireland and Ireland (9th – 12th May 2017). The Prince of Wales said in his speech later that day at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Ireland: “At The Curragh I greatly enjoyed meeting people from Ireland and the United Kingdom who were taking part in an initiative called Co-operation and Working Together which aims to strengthen the partnership between our defence forces and our emergency services to help protect everyone on the island of Ireland and to make a tangible difference in some of the most troubled parts of the world. It is a remarkable example of the good that can come from close co-operation between our two countries.”
Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., commended CAWT for their dedicated work to enhance emergency medical response planning and joint training between both jurisdictions. He said “Since its establishment as a focal point for the preparation of Defence Force personnel for Peace Support Operations, UNTSI has developed important relationships with military and civilian training institutions, significantly enhancing the courses which it provides. This collaborative approach makes UNTSI an ideal partner for CAWT in delivering the cross border Humanitarian Disaster Assistance Course for the benefit of emergency responders North and South. The Defence Forces will continue to build on partnerships such as this while retaining its focus on the training and preparation of Defence Force personnel for participation in Peace Support Operations.”
The training was delivered by the Faculty of Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine which is part of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London and is acknowledged as one of the leading training organisations in the field of humanitarian response training. The training covered a range of health related issues associated with humanitarian response and included disasters in an urban environment, refugee basic needs, humanitarian response, planning and risk assessments and communicable diseases, epidemiology and medical air evacuation of casualties. All of the topics addressed are applicable to the healthcare requirements of humanitarian and disaster situations internationally.
Commenting on the successful cross border training, Bernie McCrory, MBE, Chief Executive of CAWT said: “Such specialist courses are valuable because they enable our medical doctors and health care professionals from both sides of the border to engage in practical training alongside each other. Our support for this event is just part of the work of the CAWT cross border partnership, which comprises the health services in both jurisdictions. Our role is to improve access to health services and to facilitate greater integration between both health services in the border area. ”