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Pac Health Dialog. 2006 Sep;13(2):155-8.

The Pacific Center for Emergency Health--an anatomy of collaborative development and change--the Palau perspective.

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  • 1Pacific Basin Medical Association.


Many Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) by their geographic location, isolation, and lack of resources, are at risk for both environmental and man-made disasters. Disaster management (DM) and mitigation is frustrated by the general underdevelopment of DM planning and lack of adequate emergency medical services (EMS) to deal with daily emergencies let alone large-scale emergencies and disasters. To address this, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed and implemented the Pacific Emergency Health Initiative (PEHI) to review and make recommendations regarding the current level of DM/EMS development of select PICs. As a practical next step, a collaborative demonstration project--the CDC--Palau Community College Pacific Center for Emergency Health--was established in the Republic of Palau with the purpose of providing training and technical assistance in DM/EMS development for the region. In September 2001 the Center conducted two simultaneous training programs addressing Public Health Disaster Planning (one-week) and pre-hospital First Responder Care (two-weeks). Sixty participants included public health planners, physicians, and fire and police officials from eleven PIC jurisdictions and representatives from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission, and the Fiji School of Medicine. Eleven country and state public health disaster plans were initiated. Post 9-11 the Center has increased relevance. Through CDC's PEHI additional Center training programs are planned through FY 2003.

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