As volunteers may leave for Iraq at 72 hours notice, these volunteers will need to immediately undergo a special course to prepare them for deployment.
MERCY Malaysia chief operating officer Encik Mohd Shah Awaluddin announced that they would need to standby a large contingent of at least 100 trained medical and humanitarian volunteers for Iraq.
This will enable MERCY Malaysia to provide medical and humanitarian relief as soon as the situation warrants it. As such, the society feels that the volunteers need to be well prepared to face all eventualities.
He also announced that MERCY Malaysia's Iraq Relief Fund would be launched soon. This is because Iraqis still need much assistance in terms of medical journals, specialised medical books/notes, healthcare symposiums and emergency medicine. The fund will also be used to train volunteers for the Emergency Response Teams to Iraq.
These plans were based on reports by the MERCY Malaysia fact-finding team to Iraq, which included Exco members Dr Heng Aik Cheng (Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon & International Relief Committee member) and Encik Norazam Abu Samah (Architect & Head of Volunteer Management and Emergency Response), who left for Iraq on Sunday, January 19, 2003 and returned home two days ago on January 28, 2003.
MERCY Malaysia also plans to set up a representative office in Iraq.
Encik Norazam said that emergency response for each country is different and therefore an emergency response plan has been carefully drawn up especially for Iraq.
MERCY Malaysia has drawn up a proper syllabus for the volunteers. With the new syllabus, the volunteers will be more prepared to serve in Iraq.
Each team will comprise eight medical personnel - specialists in trauma, general and orthopaedic surgery and general medicine - plus two or more humanitarian volunteers.
Doctors and other healthcare allied professionals who wish to volunteer must also be prepared to serve in Iraq for not less than two weeks.
Once trained, Emergency Response Team members will have their names submitted and registered with the Jordanian and Iraqi Red Crescent Societies and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as fully-accredited humanitarian or medical relief workers. This will facilitate their rapid deployment once in Iraq.
The MERCY Malaysia Emergency Response Teams will attend to Internally Displaced People (IDP) and refugees and may be assigned to work in medical and humanitarian relief centres other than those run by MERCY Malaysia.
For further information, or volunteering your services, kindly contact MERCY Malaysia at Tel: 03-4256 9999 or Fax: 03-4251 8435 or register on-line at www.mercy.org.my