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Two Russian mobile hospitals join WHO’s Emergency Medical Team Initiative

Two Russian Emergency Medical Teams receive international certificates that confirm they are capable of providing mobile emergency field hospitals, the WHO reports

GENEVA, May 24. /TASS/. Two Russian Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) received in Geneva on Tuesday international certificates that confirm they are capable of providing mobile emergency field hospitals and staff members in response to natural disasters and disease outbreaks, the World Health Organization reports.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan presented letters of certifications to the head of the multi-purpose field hospital of the All-Russian Center for Disaster Medicine "Zaschita", Valery Shabanov, and the chief medical officer of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations’ air mobile hospital, Igor Yakirevitch. They also received WHO flags and special markings for the uniform of medical personnel.

Margaret Chan also congratulated specialists from the Chinese National Emergency Rescue Team Shanghai, who received the certificate on May 22.

Speaking about classification, Dr Chan said "This means that, when a disaster strikes and an affected country requests help, we can quickly deploy medical teams that we know meet our high standards".

All in all, the WHO plans to engage 200 EMTs from different countries of the globe, that may take up to three years. Russia and China have become the first to sign up for the classification process.

"I would like to thank both countries for their participation in this process and congratulate them on this worthy achievement," said Dr Margaret Chan.

"This is an historical event," Igor Yakirevitch told Tass after meeting with the WHO director-general. "In 20 years of activity in emergency situations, specialists have always faced the question of how to coordinate activity. Today we have heard from Ms. Chan that the WHO has been dealing with this problem from July 2015, certifying field hospitals," he added.

In presenting letters of certification, the WHO confirms "acknowledgment of a big experience of Russian medics’ work in emergency situations," he said, stressing that it also was a big responsibility"

"The classification process follows months of engagement with WHO through a peer-to-peer mentoring programme, which provides support from committed experts,· said Dr Ian Norton, who leads WHO’s work on EMTs.

By classifying EMTs, WHO can assure disaster-affected governments and their populations of predictable and timely responses by well-trained medical personnel and self-sufficient teams, the WHO reported.