Introduction to the Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project)

By April 11, 2022 April 11, 2022 Publications

Background:

Southeast Asia is the second biggest region in the world in terms of the total number of natural disasters since 1900. Therefore, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) initiated regional challenges toward strengthening regional collaboration for disaster prevention and response since the earthquake of Sumatra in Indonesia occurred in 2004. Moreover, ASEAN Leaders signed “the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response” in 2016. Under these circumstances, ASEAN decided to implement the Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH Project).

Objectives:

The objective of the ARCH Project is to strengthen coordination on disaster health management (DHM) for rapid and effective response to disasters occurring in the ASEAN region and to enhance the capacity of each ASEAN Member State (AMS) on DHM. This article aims to overview the outline and its strategy and review the progress of the project.

Methods:

ARCH Project is an ASEAN official project supported by Japan’s official development assistance. Five outputs were launched for: (1) coordination platform on DHM; (2) framework of regional collaboration practices; (3) tools for effective regional collaboration; (4) enhancement of academic network on DHM; and (5) capacity development activities for each AMS. The Project was reviewed in terms of accomplishment and evaluation criteria.

Results:

Regional Coordination Committee on DHM was established as a coordination platform to: Oversee the implementation of the ARCH Project for the Output 1; Regional Collaboration Drill was developed and conducted for the Output 2; The standard operating procedure for coordination of emergency medical teams (EMTs) in ASEAN was developed for the Output 3; Various presentations on ARCH were made in academic conferences for the Output 4, and Several training programs and educational curricula were developed for the Output 5. The Project has accomplished its Project Purpose and satisfied all the indicators set. ARCH Project has high Relevance, Impact, Sustainability, and Effectiveness, while some improvements in Efficiency are needed.

Conclusions:

ARCH Project is the first-ever successful regional cooperation mechanism and standardization of DHM in ASEAN, one of the most disaster-prone regions. It also contributes to the capacity building of AMS. The ARCH Project has a remarkable impact on the resilience and flexible medical response to disasters, although continuous efforts of stakeholders to make this initiative sustainable are necessary.

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