Improving global prehospital and emergency medicine, public health, and disaster health care and preparedness

Posted by: Joseph Cuthbertson; 17 September 2016; 4:13 am

Recent WADEM Oceania committee discussions have considered what the chapters core business is and whom the chapter interacts with. This has provided the opportunity to revisit the original WADEM Chapter proposal that sought to define, what, and who WADEM Oceania is.

(Original WADEM Chapter proposal)

The term “Oceania” was originally used to indicate the intended geography of this proposed WADEM Regional Chapter. Australia and New Zealand are included in the Western Pacific Regional Office of WHO (, which extends from China to the Pitcairn Islands ( . It is felt that this is too large a geographical area for a single WADEM Chapter to be effective and efficient.

OCHA includes an Oceania Region within the OCHA Regional Office for Asia Pacific, (, which also roughly corresponds to the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) region.

For the purposes of these Bylaws, the WADEM Oceania Region generally corresponds to that area covered by SOPAC, which includes the area supported by AusAID and NZAID, i.e. Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Island Nations, and Papua New Guinea. Flexibility is required at this stage of the evolution of WADEM Chapters. Members located in adjacent countries, e.g. Honolulu, East Timor and Indonesia, may choose to be included in the Oceania Regional Chapter.

The original chapter proposal identifies variances that continue to exist in defining the boundaries of Oceania. With the initiation of the recently formed ‘WADEM Disaster Metrics’ Section it may be of use to consider what methods are used to describe Oceania for research purposes. The Centre for Research and Epidemiology in Disasters (CRED) is an international reference for disaster research and apply the UN regional division ( for classification.

This definition of Oceania is comprised of:

Australia and New Zealand

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Norfolk Island


  • Fiji
  • New Caledonia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands
  • Vanuatu


  • Guam
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia (Federated States of)
  • Nauru
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau


  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • Niue
  • Pitcairn
  • Samoa
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Wallis and Futuna Islands

Of note, the CRED/UN regional definition does not include Asia or South East Asia whereas the WHO classification does. This is of relevance as these regions are consistently overrepresented with the burden of disaster impact and effect. Their inclusion when assessing Oceania would considerably alter measurable disaster impact in the region.

The consideration of the WADEM definition of Oceania is complex and should articulate the broader WADEM strategy ( and reflect the Chapter’s capacity to engage the region. Equally, in an increasingly connected world the concept of global citizenship calls into question how current and future chapters engage internally and externally to best serve humanity.

Posted by: Joseph Cuthbertson; 20 June 2016; 12:15 pm

Post written by: Dr. Sanjeev Bhoi, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMMS)

Point of care sonography (POCS) done by clinicians has become popular over the past two decades1. Its use has been described as an adjunct to physical examination during resuscitation 2.Ultrasound has also been shown to be useful to emergency care providers with differing levels of training, background, and clinical focus such as trauma and emergency care 3. The Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (FAST) examination has become the standard of care for the diagnosis of post-traumatic pericardial tamponade and hemoperitoneum 4. POCS is also useful in diagnosis of chest, extremity trauma, evaluation of shock states and intravascular volume depletion 4,5,6,7.

Disasters are situations which demands quick triage of large numbers of injured patients, especially in a resource limited setting 8. An immediately deployable, flexible and resource-sparing emergency medical response is key to improve survival during disaster. In disasters, the benefit from early intervention to the injured is often undermined by relative lack of healthcare personnel, a chaotic environment, and deficient stable social infrastructure 6,7.This limits the availability of most modern diagnostic tools, especially imaging modalities, because they are resource intensive and require a high degree of infrastructural integrity. Thus, in a disaster, responders may be forced to rely only on history and clinical examination which is relatively time-consuming and often inaccurate approach in this setting.

Modern ultrasound machines are portable, robust, easy to use, and inexpensive. These advances allow ultrasound to be brought to the patients to acquire diagnostic information in real time. In addition, literature describes its use in remote, austere, and resource-poor settings, including outer space, high altitudes and combat settings9. It can address triage, resuscitation and critical treatment decisions during the disaster 10,11,12,13. Virtual technology such as telemedicine can be integrated with the POCS to make critical management decisions in the field. These qualities of point of care ultrasound makes it uniquely suited for deployment in the care of patients in the setting of a disaster.

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  2. Brooks A, Davies B, Smethhurst M, Connolly J. Prospective evaluation of non-radiologist performed emergency abdominal ultrasound for haemoperitoneum. Emerg Med J. 2004;21: e5.
  3. Nelson BP, Chason K. Use of ultrasound by emergency medical services: a review. Int J Emerg Med.2008; 1:253–259.
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  5. Dulchavsky SA, Henry SE, Moed BR, Diebel LN, Marshburn T, Hamilton DR, et al. Advanced ultrasonic diagnosis of extremity trauma: the FASTER examination. J Trauma.2002;53:28–32.
  6. Lyon M, Blaivas M, Brannam L. Sonographic measurement of the inferior vena cava as a marker of blood loss. Am J Emerg Med. 2005; 23:45–50.
  7. Ebrahim A, Yousefifard M , Kazemi H , Rasouli H , Asady H , Jafari A Diagnostic Accuracy of Chest Ultrasonography versus Chest  Radiography for Identification of Pneumothorax: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Tanaffos.2014; 13(4): 29–40.
  8. Burkle FM Jr. Mass casualty management of a large-scale bioterrorist event: an epidemiological approach that shapes triage decisions. Emerg Med Clin North Am.2002; 20:409–436.
  9. Ma OJ, Norvell JG, Subramanian S. Ultrasound applications in mass casualties and extreme environments. Crit Care Med. 2007;35: S275–S279.
  10. Stawicki SP,Howard JM, Pryor JP, Bahner DP, Whitmill ML, Dean AJ Portable ultrasonography in mass casualty incidents: the caveat examination.World J Orthop 2010 ;1(1):10-9.
  11. Blaivas M. Triage in the trauma bay with the focused abdominal sonography for trauma (FAST) examination. J Emerg Med. 2001; 21:41–44.
  12. Mazur SM, Rippey J. Transport and use of point-of-care ultrasound by a disaster medical assistance team. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2009; 24:140–144.
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