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Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 12-17

Role of asia-pacific emergency and disaster nursing network (APEDNN) in disaster risk reduction

1 Co-Secretariat, APEDNN, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
2 Nurse Consultant, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Date of Web Publication5-Jun-2020

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Loke AY, Chan S. Role of asia-pacific emergency and disaster nursing network (APEDNN) in disaster risk reduction. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn 2018;19:12-7

How to cite this URL:
Loke AY, Chan S. Role of asia-pacific emergency and disaster nursing network (APEDNN) in disaster risk reduction. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Dec 6];19:12-7. Available from: https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2018/19/2/12/286083

Paper presented at the 10th Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network Meeting cum the First International Nursing Conference on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction: Role of Health Care Providers held in College of Nursing, CMC Vellore, India on 16-19, November 2016.

In times of emergencies and disasters, health workers are counted upon to respond to the emergency and provide substantial care to individuals, families and communities. In these events, all health workers operate far beyond their normal limits as they are needed to function in surge capacity. Confusion may result if there are no defined roles for the health workers and there is a lack of communication and coordination among them and with other partners in health emergency management. It isimperative that they possess the necessary competencies to be able to respond effectively and efficiently with confidence and authority (Hick et al., 2004). Nurses and midwives are involved in providing emergency care and make significant contributions to disaster preparedness and response efforts. As the largest healthcare workgroup in most nations of the world, nurses and midwives, can contribute tremendously in emergency and disaster situations with specific training in emergency preparedness (Gebbie & Qureshi, 2002).

“Nurses are often the first medical personnel on site after disaster strikes,” “In these situations where resources are scarce, nurses are called upon to take roles as first responder, direct care provider, on-site coordinator of care, information provider or educator, mental health counselor and triage officer” said Dr. Eric Laroche (World Health Organization [WHO], 2008a). With this in mind, the World Health Organization has organized a consultation on the role and contribution of nursing and midwifery in emergencies in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses in 2006 (WHO, 2008b). The consultation reached with the recommendation that emergency preparedness and response should be included in the curricula of all levels of nursing training. It also recommended that in addition to the pre- service training, continuing education programmes should be planned and conducted to build capacity of nurses and midwives in emergency nursing preparedness and response.

The Birth of the Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network (APEDNN)

Natural disasters are more likely to occur and affect people in the Asia and the Pacific region than that in Africa and in Europe, at four and twenty five times respectively. According to a global climate change vulnerability index, the seven cities that are classified as “at extreme risk” are in Asia (Maplecroft, 2012). Natural disasters have accounted for nearly half of the estimated global economic cost in Asia since the early 1990s (Asia Development Bank, 2013). By 2030, 40% of economic losses in the Asia Pacific will be accounted for by disasters (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2018).

The South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regional Offices of the WHO convened an informal meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 25 - 27 October in 2007. The meeting of nursing leaders and health emergency partners from the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia gave birth to the Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network (Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network, 2007- 2015/ APEDNN was established with the vison to lead in the Asia Pacific region for emergency and disaster nursing for safer and resilient communities.

The members of the meeting identified the critical need for the full engagement of the nursing professionals in multinational and multi-sector partnerships in prevention, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery activities during disasters. The members identified the Capacity Building Priorities, a set of core competencies and domains, and the implementation strategies for the integration of Emergency Preparedness and Response into nursing and midwifery. The implementation strategies that were proposed include: establishment of regional networks for emergency preparedness and response, curriculum development to equip all nurses with the required core emergency and disaster knowledge and skills, faculty preparation and training to enable further development of core educational / training curricular material for nurses.

Jinan Call to Action, 2008

In the APEDNN’s meeting 2008 held in Jinan, China, the need on building capacity of nurses and midwives to provide services in times of emergency and disaster, and the urgency in capacity building of all levels of workers, research and evaluation were emphasized. The Jinan participants and the network members, in their call to action urged the governments, organization and stakeholders to involve nurses and midwives in policy making, planning, capacity building, education and training, and research on emergency and disaster.

The capacities that were emphasized and documented (APEDNN, 2008) were:

  • Roles of nurses and midwives in emergency preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation
  • Nursing care during acute phase of emergencies and disasters
  • Public health interventions in emergencies and disaster
  • Psychosocial and mental health support in emergencies and disasters
  • Safely and security measures in emergencies and disaster
  • Coordination and communication
  • Management of logistics and resources
  • Training, advocacy, social mobilization

During disasters, nurses and midwives should be prepared to care for large number of patients in less than ideal situations. They should be competent at providing lifesaving and emergency care as well as deal with public health issues related to emergencies and disasters and emerging infectious diseases. They should be able to work closely with other people involved in emergency and disaster care. They should also know about the incident command system in their hospital or community and what their roles are when emergency operations centers are activated.

Curriculum for Emergency and Disaster Nursing, 2009

In 2009 APEDNN meeting, a Curricular Framework and Course Development Process for Emergency and Disaster Nursing was proposed. The APEDNN Curriculum on Emergency and Disaster Nursing is organized along the phases of emergency and disaster management (WHO, 2009): Preparedness (prevention and mitigation), response (acute intervention), and recovery and rehabilitation (post- emergency/disaster).

It includes:

  • Nursing care during pre-hospital care (triage, trauma wound care, infection control)
  • Public health interventions in emergencies and disasters (surveillance, emerging diseases, control of communicable and infectious diseases, nutrition, water and sanitation, temporary shelter, control of possible exposure to chemical, biological, radio- nuclear, explosives)
  • Psychosocial and mental health support in emergencies and disasters
  • Nursing care of vulnerable groups in emergency and disasters (pregnant women, child-rearing mothers, children, patients with chronic disease, patients with physical or psychological disabilities, older persons)

Core courses were identified to be the focus of the capability-building of nurses, these include the following (see [Table 1]).
Table 1: The Competency Areas Organized into the Three Phases of Emergency/Disaster Management

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APEDNN Conceptual Framework, 2011

In the 2011 meeting, a monitoring and evaluation framework was proposed based on the network’s vision, strategic objectives and ecological conceptual framework[see Figure 1]. The framework is composed of key disaster strategic areas: community assessment and identifications of hazards, risks and vulnerabilities; capacity development and assessment; emergency response, recovery and rehabilitation; policy development; communication and collaboration with other institutions and partners; and research and dissemination of knowledge. The monitoring and evaluation of efforts will enable the analysis of the processes or activities and the impacts, to inform how emergency response can be enhanced, and to increase community resilience.
Figure 1: Conceptual Framework for Monitoring and Evaluation of Disaster Strategies

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From 2010 to 2014, APEDNN continues the work on the development of a curricular framework on emergency and disaster nursing and implementation of core courses to build capacities of nurses and midwives in emergency preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation taking into account the “ICN Framework of Competencies for Generalist Nurses” developed by the International Council of Nurses (WHO, 2009), the “Educational Competencies for Registered Nurses Responding to Mass Casually Incidents” developed by the International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education (International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education, 2003), and the Conceptual Framework for monitoring and evaluation of disaster strategies (APEDNN, 2011).

Action Plan According to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

The APEDNN meeting held in Manila 2015 focused on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015). The working groups discussed on the following action plan:

  1. Identify and promote the development of emergency and disaster nursing competencies.
  2. Disseminate tools, materials, and training programmes in emergency and disaster nursing education, services, and research.
  3. Identify and develop best practices and evidence- based guidelines and interventions.
  4. Document and disseminate information on the work of the network to inform and influence the development of emergency and disaster management policy and resource allocation.
  5. Support the efforts of countries, WHO, ICN, and other stakeholders in disaster risk management.

The Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network-2016

The APEDNN is stepping into the first decade of its operation, and it is crucial to consolidate the contributions that this network has made to disaster nursing development. There is a need to explore what are the roles of nurses and midwives in disaster risk reduction and how to contribute to the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

Action Plan in Disaster Risk Reduction

The APEDNN Action Plan for 2016-2020 provides the general direction as to the role of APEDNN in meeting its vision, mission and objectives:

  • To translate plans at the country level
  • To identify the current initiatives on capacity building, information and communication, standards and guidelines, research and best practices
  • To collaborate with the health care system and its facilities, academia, interest groups/organizations and international funding agencies. These collaborations exist in the local, national and international levels


Three strategic activities were identified and a management team was established, which focuses on three initiatives to realize the health aspects of the Sendai Framework:

  • Research: to conduct collaborative research in the network countries to explore the understanding of disaster risks among nurses and the general public
  • Best Practice and Guideline: to share the best practice and guideline among different countries, such as risk management and hospital resilience
  • Education and Training: to increase the awareness of early warning signs of disasters and disaster preparedness among nurses and the general public

Logo of APEDNN

The Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network Logo has been re-designed to encompass the following:

Emergency and disasters are symbolized through the color blue which represents the color of the earth, while the upper part of the logo symbolizes the wave of a Tsunami. The half concentric circles are similar to the global warning symbol for earthquakes.

The overall look of the logo is similar to a shell symbolizing shelter and safety. For the APEDNN this includes the sharing of knowledge, skills and support in all emergency and disaster phases for communities prone to emergency and disaster events.

The logo also represents a hand making a fist. The upper part of the Tsunami wave represents 4 fingers and the lower part the thumb symbolizing a hand in hand approach by nurses to make a determined contribution to emergency and disaster related matters.

APEDNN Network Members are to

  • Participate in strategic development of the APEDNN
  • Start with what you can do, such as education (to enhance the competencies of health professionals, or other related professionals in risk reduction)
  • Provide training to professionals by using the standard protocols
  • Prepare nurses and citizens for disasters to reduce risks
  • Identify and recruit prepared and willing volunteers, and professionals
  • Conduct research/projects to reduce disaster risks and impacts
  • Take what you can do and adopt in your own place (city or country)

Together, the members of the APEDNN will join hands for the reduction of global disaster risk, and enhancing disaster preparedness and resilience.

Challenges Ahead

There are challenges of the APEDNN, with a number of the founding members retiring, difficulties in supporting members from the disaster prone countries to meetings, and regular communications of members in the network.
Table 2: APEDNN meetings

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Strategies Proposed are to

  • Ensure regular communications among members, partner institutions and WHO
  • Maintain membership, partner, and other relevant databases
  • Increaseand facilitate membership (including national MOH nurses, midwives, disaster management colleagues, universities, national associations, partner NGOs, military, diaster management organizations)
  • Propose ideas, innovations or mechanisms for improved operations of the Network towards self- sustainability and enhanced functionality
  • Propose, monitor, evaluate and report on education, training, research, projects, activities and accomplishments of the network.

The APEDNN also needs to deliberate on how each of the members and our institutions can work collaboratively on our disaster work, research activities, and coordinated projects and to share the outcomes effectively. The future of APEDNN should be envisioned in strengthening and coordinating disaster risk assessment, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery at country, provincial, community or organizational level.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have declared no conflicts ofinterest.

  References Top

Asia Development Bank. (2013). Sustainability report: Investing in Asia and the Pacific’s future. Retrieved from https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle /20.500.11822/8866/Asian-Development-Bank- Sustainability-Report-2013 -Investing-in-Asia-and- the-Pacific-Future.pdf?sequence=3&isA11Owed=y  Back to cited text no. 1
Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network. (2007-2015). Meeting reports. Retrieved from http://www.apednn.org/pastmeeting.html.  Back to cited text no. 2
Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network. (2008). Jinan call to action: Nurses, midwives, health partners address emergency and disaster priorities for safer and resilient communities. Retrieved from http://www.searo.who.int/entity/nursing_midwifery/ data/jinan_call_to_action.pdf?ua=l  Back to cited text no. 3
Asia Pacific Emergency and Disaster Nursing Network. (2011). The role of nurses in disaster management in Asia Pacific. Retrieved from https:// link.springer.com/content/pdf/bfm%3A978-3-319- 41309-9%2F 1 .pdf  Back to cited text no. 4
Gebbie, K. M., & Qureshi, K. (2002). Emergency and Disaster Preparedness: Core Competencies for Nurses: What every nurse should but may not know. The American Journal of Nursing, 102(1), 46-51.  Back to cited text no. 5
Hick, J. L., Hanfling, D., Burstein, J. L., DeAtley, C., Barbiseli, D., Bogdan, G M., & Cantrill, S. (2004). Health care facility and community strategies for patient care surge capacity. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 44(3), 253-261.  Back to cited text no. 6
International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education. (2003). Educational competencies for registered nurses responding to mass casualty incidents. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu /viewdoc/download?doi= l&type=pdf  Back to cited text no. 7
Maplecroft, V. (2012). The climate change and environmental risk atlas: Risk calculators and dashboards. Retrieved fromhttps:// www.maplecroft.com/about/ news/ccvi_2012.html.  Back to cited text no. 8
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. (2018). Economic and social survey of Asia and the Pacific 2018. Retrieved from https://www.unescap.org/publications/economic- and-social-survey-asia-and-pacific-2018  Back to cited text no. 9
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reducation. (2015). Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction 2015- 2030. Retrieved from https://www.unisdr.org/ we/inform/ publications/43291  Back to cited text no. 10
World Health Organisation. (2008a). Asia Pacific nurses meet to enhance disaster management skills. Retrieved from http://origin.wpro.who.int /mediacentre/releases/2008/pr20081610/е en п  Back to cited text no. 11
World Health Organization. (2009). ICN framework of disaster nursing competencies. Retrieved from http://www.wpro.who.int/hrh/documents/icn_framework.pdf  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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