How an Asia/Pacific government client improved their capability to respond to emergencies

Objective

To give this Asia/Pacific region government options to improve the capacity and capability of the health services across the country to respond to serious and unusual emergencies.

Scope

Initially, the scope was to focus on the workforce element of the problem but the Ministry of Health accepted a recommendation to broaden the scope to include policy, leadership, organisation and management, workforce, decision rights, health surveillance and information systems, critical supplies across the government, private and community volunteer and not-for-profit agencies.

Approach

Brooke co-led a team applying a seven-element approach:

  • Engagement across the health community with CEOs / senior executives to understand the drivers for achieving systemic understanding and improvement
  • Developing an interdepartmental oversight committee co-chaired by the Ministry of Health and the
  • Dept. of Prime Minister & Cabinet to guide the project
  • Designing and piloting a methodology at the regional level around the nation’s capital
  • Developing a more robust methodology based on lessons learned
  • Conducting an intervention across the country’s District Health Boards, including an analysis of the whole-of-nation capabilities and capacities
  • Developing recommendations for systemic improvement as costed options for Government and presenting these findings to Treasury, and;
  • Assessing the residual risk for each option, should the Government approve
Results

The country’s Ministry of Health achieved a deep understanding of its whole-of-nation capacity and capability to address serious and unusual emergencies across the full scope of interest. The underlying risk methodology enabled the Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet to understand the treatment priorities relative to other social policy priorities facing government.

The Ministry of Health study offered benefits across the emergency management community, improving linkages between the agencies to act as one – not only in times of crisis. Recommendations for improving health preparedness for serious emergencies also acted to improve day-to-day health services delivery, especially in syndromic surveillance, management of critical supplies and transportation.