Given the high risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood’s (GLOF) occurrence in Punakha-Wangdue valley, the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Program under Emergency Medical Services Division (EMSD) has carried out the Simulation Exercise at Punakha Hospital from 22nd – 24th November 2019. The main aim of the exercise was to evaluate and test the Punakha Hospital’s Emergency Contingency Plan in response towards the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF). In particular, the simulation exercise tested following:
i. To test preparedness and response mechanisms
ii. To reinforce roles and responsibilities at ICS when responding to a public health emergency
iii. To identify gaps and areas for improvement in public health emergency response mechanisms of hospital.
iv. To evaluate the effectiveness of communication between national level HEOC’s and other stakeholders.
The 3 days Simulation Exercise comprising of both Tabletop Simulation (TTX) and Drill was facilitated by Mr. Ugyen Tshering, Program Officer (Exercise Controller), Dr. Nar Bdr Rai, Emergency Physician (Exercise Facilitator) and Mr. Sonam Dorji, Asst. Program Officer (Exercise Facilitator). The Evaluators team included representatives from EMSD, Department of Disaster Management (DDM), National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM), Royal Center for Disease Control (RCDC), Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Mongar Eastern Regional Referral Hospital, Gelephu Central Regional Referral Hospital and other hospitals from Western region. The exercise participants included the staff of Punakha Hospital, the Royal Bhutan Police, Punakha, and volunteers from Technical Training Institute(actors).
The TTX was more focussed on emergency planning and decision-making capability of the hospital. While the focus of the Drill was on the public health emergency response at the scene of mass casualty due to GLOF. Participants were also required to manage cases which were brought to the hospital. The drill included the use of appropriate local and national notifications from the Ministry of Health [Health Emergency Operations Centres (HEOC)] and other relevant ministries. The roles and responsibilities of Incident commander, section chiefs and others team members were also reviewed including communication, coordination, and decision-making regarding appropriate public health response and referral system.
The conduct of such simulation exercise (TTX and drill) in the health facilities is as per the mandate set in Health Emergency and Disaster Contingency Plan (HEDCP) 2016.