New Delhi, Feb 21, 2018: Practising medicine with limited resources is always challenging and there is need for concerted capacity building of health workers in this regard, particularly during humanitarian emergencies, said Dr. Edmond Fernandes at the International workshop on Reinforcing Institutional decision making in Disaster preparedness and Mitigation, held at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Special Center for Disaster Research at New Delhi.
In his address to the delegates and dignitaries at the International workshop which had guests from Harvard University, Dr. Edmond Fernandes stressed on the need to have a separate emergency disaster health plan at the National Level, State Level and at the District Level both in spirit and action and not just on paper. India loses $10 billion every year because of natural and man-made disasters and the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals and Smart Cities intentions will become a water-shed moment for development if serious attention is not diverted towards disaster risk reduction and building resilient communities.
There is limited knowledge on post-disaster epidemiology and the public health consequences of disaster management is poorly understood because of the politics of disaster management when it comes to appointment of members, the way in which civil society organizations work because of insecurity syndrome they suffer from, the non-accountability and conflicting conscience that gets created post disaster.
Dr. Edmond Fernandes strongly advocated for a White Paper on Disaster Management to be brought out in Parliament and also at all the state Legislatures across the country and the need to tell the people of India how important this is factoring in climate change and health impacts as well. Besides he also provided a framework of sustainable solutions which can be achieved at in a time-bound manner.
Dr. Edmond Fernandes also chaired the session for plenary speaker Dr. Ryo Morimoto, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University, USA on how disaster archives can help institutionalize disaster preparedness and led the discussions for Prof Anil Gupta, National Institute of Disaster Management- Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, Prof Chandan Ghosh, National Institute of Disaster Management, Dr. Niveditha Haran, Rtd IAS and Prof Akbaruddin Ahmad, Chair, Policy Research Centre, Bangladesh