Health Emergency Operations Center in Mendi operational: delivering quick delivery of health services to quake affected communities

WHO, NDOH and the Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority working together to establish the Health EOC in Mendi, Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

A Health Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is now operational in Mendi, Southern Highlands to coordinate the health response to the Febuary 26 earthquake that struck the area.

A joint team from the National Department of Health (NDOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) delivered the initial equipment and establised the system for a more efficient delivery of health services to the affected communities.

“With good leadership, the emergency operations center will help strenghten the public health system and ensure health services are reaching all the people,” said WHO Team Leader, Dr Anup Gurung. A key function of the EOC is to establish survellance systems for early detection of disease and quick response to disease outbreaks.

Provincial Health Administrator, Dr Joseph Birisi, acknowledged the quick response of development partners in mobilising support toward the health response, and acknowledged the important role of donor coordination In order to detect possible disease outbreaks, surveillance systems have also been set up in Hela. Health workers are being trained for basic skills in early detection and rapid response to outbreaks. Similar trainings are planned for Southern Highlands next week.

To date, WHO has mobilised international and national staff to the earthquake response, covering areas on health cluster coordination, epidemiology, surveillance, informationa management, health operation, mental health, risk communication, administration and logistics and other experts.

WHO will continue to assist the National Department of Health and provincial health teams and its health cluster partners in the coordination of the health response and in developing both short and longer-term plans to restore health services to the affected communities.

Media contact:

Renagi Taukarai, WHO Communications Officer, PNG, +675 75437337