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J Evid Based Med. 2012 May;5(2):75-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-5391.2012.01176.x.

Lessons learned from the Wenchuan earthquake.

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Health Department of Sichuan Province, Chengdu, China.



To conclude experience and lessons from emergency medical rescue after Wenchuan Earthquake from national and overall review for consideration on worldwide catastrophe rescue in the future.


To systematically collect huge amount of primary data, and to make analysis, draw conclusions and lessons in terms of five aspects respectively as quake-damage conditions, command system, emergency medical rescue, prevention and control over infectious diseases as well as pairing-assistance for medical system and service reconstruction.


1. Numbers as of the death, injured and migrants made Wenchuan Earthquake ranked one of the top 9 catastrophes around the world during the past two decades. 2. Countermeasures such as four-level linkage by nation-province-city-county model, mutual assistance between military force and local forces, frontline commanding did effectively ensure the dispatch and cooperation among rescue forces. 3. Three-leveled medical transfers, "four concentrations" prevention and treatment besides whole-course rehabilitation at early stage managed to lower mortality and disability rate to minimum levels respectively. 4. "Four-keynote infectious disease control" under whole coverage and "five measures and four reinforcement measures" in settlements made rates as for those infectious diseases under the average level as those in the 3 pre-quake years. 5. Pairing-assistance in terms of talents, finance, materials as well as capacity building between other 18 provinces/municipalities and those 18 extremely-stricken/severely-stricken areas in Sichuan Province guaranteed efficient post-quake reconstruction, system reconstruction and long-term mechanism construction.


Successful experience from Wenchuan Earthquake could be summarized as: one goal as people-oriented life-rescuing. Two tasks as medical rescue for diseases of those injured and healthcare & anti-epidemic for safe and sound of those lives. Three strategies respectively as medical transfers after on-site triage, treatment for severe diseases in quake-hit areas and rehabilitation in non quake-hit areas for medical rescue, and quick post-quake evaluation, quick promotion for whole coverage and scientific regulation in long term for healthcare & anti-epidemic. Four measures as concentration for patients, experts, resources and treatment respectively for medical rescue, and key regions, key groups, key infectious diseases and key steps for healthcare & anti-epidemic. Five links as overall commanding, medical rescue, healthcare and anti-epidemic, physical/mental rehabilitation and post-quake reconstruction. And whole course surveillance as information guidance, policy guarantee, data collection, evidence producing, effectiveness evaluation, and academic communication.

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