On the back of COVID 19 pandemic and various natural disasters in recent times, the AH&MRC Public Health team have been working over the past 6 months to develop an Emergency Activation Response Framework for the NSW ACCHO sector.
The Framework provides a high-level and practical plan for the early stages of responding to an emergency and The Appendix supports the Framework, considering the four phases of emergency management: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, with specific considerations and useful tips for different emergencies.
The Public Health team engaged consultants Public Health Matters to assist with development of the Framework. In March 2023, a targeted literature review was conducted of existing health emergency frameworks from around Australia and internationally, with a focus on Indigenous communities. During the process we also established an AH&MRC Emergency Response Committee with representatives from ACCHO’s involved in floods, fires and the Pandemic; as well as representatives from NSW Ministry of Health State Preparedness and Response Unit, and the Centre for Aboriginal Health. This committee met for a full day meeting on 12th April 2023, and discussions from the meeting informed the development of the Framework and Appendix.
The finalised first versions of these resources have been distributed to CEO’s of our Member Services. Through our Public Health team and Regional Engagement Officers on the ground, the AH&MRC hope to also engage ACCHO’s in discussions to encourage use of these resources and to provide feedback, so that we can evaluate and update as necessary.
The AH&MRC hope that the Emergency Activation Response Framework will be valuable in supporting ACCHOS as they transition from the COVID 19 pandemic and continue the ongoing process of planning to respond to future Public Health Emergencies impacting Aboriginal communities in NSW.