At the height of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the acute shortage of trained medical teams ready for deployment for health emergency response became an apparent gap in the international response.
As a direct follow up, the European Union has set up a European Medical Corps (EMC) through which teams and equipment from the EU Member States can be rapidly deployed to provide medical assistance and public health expertise in response to emergencies inside and outside the EU.
The EMC is part of the existing European Emergency Response Capacity (also known as voluntary pool), established under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM).
To be part of the EMC, the teams need to undergo a certification process to make sure that they meet the strict quality criteria and that they are trained to work within the international coordination framework. In return they benefit from EU financial support.
By January 2016, nine Member States have already offered teams and equipment to the European Medical Corps (BE, LU, ES, DE, CZ, FR, NL, FI, SE).