Role of the University in Preparing Students for Disaster Management

Negeri Sembilan, 16th January 2020 – With today’s emerging natural disasters and infectious disease issues, it is necessary to ensure competent frontline medical practitioners are deployed to the disaster area. In line with this, the Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme at the University of Cyberjaya has developed a unique training module to ensure our medical graduates are ready to serve crisis-stricken communities.

Over 90 fourth-year students from the University of Cyberjaya’s MBBS programme recently participated in a Disaster, Relief and Military Medicine Module activity at ‘Kampung Solok Sengkuang’. The programme was held on the 15th & 16th January 2020 and aimed to help prepare future graduates to aid in humanitarian and relief missions.

Along with the 90 MBBS students, 14 accompanying staff members and five military personnel led by Major David Iskandar Binti Abdullah also participated in the ‘Basic Mission Training’. In this training at Kampung Solok Sengkuang, students were asked to simulate a war zone with mass casualties.

According to Asst. Prof. Dr Basmullah Yusof, from the Centre for Disaster and Relief Medicine, it is important for future medical practitioners to be exposed to disaster relief operations because most of the disasters in the world were reported to occur in Asia itself. “We need to equip our future doctors for the worse so that they are prepared to respond quickly to emergencies when disasters strike” he added.

Students are given the opportunity to practice techniques and practical knowledge such as preparing an Emergency Response Unit (ERU) & humanitarian logistics, field disaster management, medical evacuations (MEDIEVAC), negotiation skills and more.

Muhammad Aiyman bin Amir, a year 4 MBBS student said this holistic training module does not only test one’s knowledge but also tests your mental endurance, leadership skills and empathy. “I find that this activity forces us to think creatively because when we are out there on the field, we do not enjoy the comfort of hospital facilities and thus, we need to think outside the box on how we can best help patients,” he said.

Appointed as the director of field mission, Walaa Wahid Abdullah Wajih, a year 4 MBBS student said she had a wonderful and enriching experience being part of the 2D1N outdoor programme. “I was personally challenged on leadership and tactical planning for setting up the hospital during a disaster. I am grateful to all the military personnel and lecturers that gave me constructive feedback throughout the drills”, she mentioned.

The University of Cyberjaya has organized these disaster relief practices for more than 12 years in various locations around the country such as Tanjung Malim, Banting, Morib and Sungai Congkak. Students are exposed to a variety of scenarios to provide medical and humanitarian assistance in areas of explosion incidents, terrorist attacks, flooding, landslides and more.

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