Australia to send second medical team to the Philippines

Australia will deploy a second medical team to the Philippines to provide additional medical support for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Page last updated: 21 November 2013

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21 November 2013

Australia will deploy a second medical team to the Philippines next week to provide additional medical support for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

The Federal Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, announced the additional deployment today and said the second team will comprise 37 health professionals and logisticians from all Australian states and territories and from New Zealand.

The composition of the second team was agreed by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley and state and territory Chief Health Officers.

Mr Dutton said all members of the new team had undertaken specific overseas medical deployment training.

“The team is scheduled to leave from Darwin next Wednesday (27 November) and will be deployed for 14 days,” Mr Dutton said.

Last week, Australia sent a 37-member Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) to the Philippines which has established a base at Tacloban airport and commenced surgical operations at their field hospital.

“Since Saturday, the AUSMAT has performed 72 surgeries, treated 587 outpatient cases and treated 108 inpatients in the field hospital,” Mr Dutton said.

“Typhoon survivors are presenting with a range of conditions from minor injuries and wounds to severe head injuries, spinal and long bone fractures, and the doctors are dealing with contaminated wounds, tetanus and other diseases.

“The Australian team is performing vital medical work and the AUSMAT is functioning as the surgical hub for Tacloban. It is also helping to manage the public health needs of the population surrounding the airport.

“I’m advised that Philippines President Benigno Aquino visited the Australian field hospital earlier this week and was visibly moved by the level of care being provided by the Australian medical team.”

The bulk of the second AUSMAT are Darwin based and Member for Solomon, Natasha Griggs, said the second medical deployment is being coordinated by the Commonwealth-funded National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) in Darwin.

“The work currently underway in the Philippines is another example of the importance of having a rapid-response crisis centre based in Darwin,” Mrs Griggs said.

“The NCCTRC provides Australia with the capacity and flexibility to respond to humanitarian crises like Typhoon Haiyan and to maximise outcomes on the ground.

“The number of treatments provided by the team currently deployed in the Philippines shines a light on the enormous need in Tacloban and surrounding communities.

“I want to extend my appreciation to the medical professionals who have responded so effectively to the unimaginable tragedy that struck our friends in the Philippines.”

The second Australian Medical Assistance Team will be made up of:

  • 1 Team Leader
  • 12 Doctors (including 2 surgeons, 2 anaesthetists, 7 emergency physicians and environmental health doctor)
  • 15 nurses (including 4 operating theatre nurses)
  • 2 paramedics
  • 6 logisticians
  • 1 pharmacist
Fifteen members of the team are from the Northern Territory, six each are from Western Australia and Victoria, four are from South Australia and two are from Queensland. NSW, the ACT, Tasmania and New Zealand are each providing one team member.

The NCCTRC was established by former Prime Minister John Howard in response to the Bali bombings to deal with crises such as that which occurred in the Philippines.

Media contact: John Wiseman – 0401 776 108

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