Southeast Asia has been recognized as one of the most disaster-prone areas of the world. With the increasing in reported disaster occurrences in the region fostered by geographical features, disaster preparedness measures designed to provide readiness to such emergency unavoidably have become more essential to ensure sustained healthy and safe lives of the people of ASEAN. The Project for Strengthening the ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management or ARCH Project, a project born from long-lasting cooperation between Thailand and Japan, recognizes these trends, creating framework of regional cooperation to enhance preparedness of ASEAN towards health consequences of disasters under the field called Disaster Health Management.
Within the three-year operational period co-managed by the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM) of Thailand, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), ARCH Project aims to strengthen ASEAN regional coordination and cooperation on disaster health management with five outputs to reach that goal; ranging from setting up coordination platform; developing regional collaboration practices; developing mechanisms for regional collaboration; enhancing academic network; to organizing capacity building activities. A year had passed and the project has made notable progress to reach those outputs. The First Regional Collaboration Drill joined by the ten ASEAN Member States were organized in July 2017. Two AMS Trainings were convened to strengthen national capacity on disaster health management, while series of Project Working Group Meetings were organized to develop regional collaborative mechanisms such as the Standard Operating Procedure for Coordination of Emergency Medical Teams in ASEAN. With strong supports and progressive results, ARCH Project is now paving the path and opportunities for ASEAN to create and develop a community that is safe and resilient from disasters and its consequences.