FIJI RED CROSS HEALTH COORDINATOR TAKES THE LEAD IN ENHANCING MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT RESPONSE
In the ever-evolving landscape of disaster response and humanitarian aid, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) have emerged as critical components of holistic care. Recognizing the importance of bolstering MHPSS efforts, the Fiji Red Cross Society has been actively investing in building its capacity in this area. A significant step in this direction was recently taken as Salote Maramaciriciri, the Health Coordinator of Fiji Red Cross Society, participated in the “Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in National Emergencies Regional Training.” This intensive training, organized by the Asia Pacific MHPSS Training and Learning Collaborative and hosted by the Japanese Red Cross Society, took place from August 28th to September 1st, 2023, in Tokyo, Japan.
A Critical Training for a Critical Need
The objective of this regional training was crystal clear: to empower Asia Pacific National Societies to adeptly plan and implement MHPSS response interventions during large-scale national emergencies and disasters. Given Fiji’s vulnerability to a wide range of natural and man-made disasters, this training held immense significance for both the nation and its Red Cross Society.
Preparing for Diverse Scenarios
The training program was designed to prepare participants for a wide spectrum of critical scenarios, ranging from aviation disasters and civil unrest to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear materials or weapons, terrorist attacks, typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, and fires. These real-world case studies provided invaluable insights and equipped participants with the tools to address the unique challenges posed by these emergencies.
Fiji, like many other Pacific island nations, faces the constant threat of cyclones, flooding, and earthquakes, making the lessons from this training particularly relevant.
A Collaborative Learning Experience
What made this training even more enriching was the diverse group of participants. Salote Maramaciriciri was joined by representatives from 14 National Societies across the Asia Pacific region, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Mongolia, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Japan. Additionally, two IFRC Country Offices, Bangkok CCD and Bangladesh CD, actively contributed to the collaborative effort.
Building a Resilient Network
As participants engaged in interactive sessions, practical exercises, and insightful discussions, they not only gained knowledge and skills but also forged strong bonds. This network of professionals is now better equipped to respond effectively to the mental health and psychosocial needs of communities during times of crises.
Impact on Fiji Red Cross and Beyond
Salote Maramaciriciri’s participation in this crucial training holds the promise of significant benefits for Fiji Red Cross Society. The knowledge and experience gained will not only enhance the organization’s capacity to provide MHPSS support during emergencies in Fiji but will also enable the sharing of expertise with other stakeholders. This collaborative approach aligns with Fiji Red Cross’s mission to serve its communities with dedication and resilience.
As Fiji continues to face the challenges of climate change and the increasing frequency of natural disasters, the role of MHPSS becomes even more vital. Salote Maramaciriciri’s participation in the “Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in National Emergencies Regional Training” is a testament to Fiji Red Cross’s commitment to improving the lives of those affected by disasters. Through enhanced MHPSS response capabilities, Fiji Red Cross Society is better equipped to provide the care and support needed by individuals and communities when they need it the most.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Ms Luisa Turaga