2017 RISK Award goes to EpiNurse from Nepal

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are key to a more sophisticated dis-aster risk management (DRM) and for improved disaster risk reduction (DRR). The 2017 RISK Award is praising and funding a project that enhances disaster preparedness through an innovative ICT concept. It supports the prevention and control of communicable diseases following a disaster. The winning contribution was presented by the Nursing Association of Nepal (NAN).

Nepal is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Especially in the aftermath of large scale disasters, such as the earthquake in 2015, the country is highly vulnerable to public health emergencies. One of the main issues leading to this situation is the lack of reliable health data nation-wide. Thus the Nursing Association of Nepal set itself to deal with this problem. NAN wants to enhance the public health emergency preparedness of the country through an innovative approach to data collection.

For this purpose the organisation will equip local nurses with a simple information and communication technology toolkit that allows them to monitor the health security and disaster risk situation. These EpiNurses – short for “Epidemiology Nurse” – are trained by the association to as-sess living conditions of communities and to surveil their health condition in post extreme emergencies and disasters. Their ICT toolkit enables them to provide crucial, yet hard-to-collect evidence of where there is potential risk of communicable diseases erupting and consequently spreading. The collected data will be shared with other health actors as well as with the Ministry of Health through an Application Programming Interface. This facilitates the development of models that support health-risk-management decisions in the aftermath of disasters. The role of EpiNurses could be crucial in preventing the eruption of health threats and ultimately in mitigating disaster risk.

Ms. Apsara Pandey from the Nursing Association of Nepal received the RISK Award. It comes with a 100,000 Euros project grant, provided by Munich Re Foundation.

The Munich Re Foundation and its partners UNISDR and GRF Davos were proud to announce the EpiNurse project as the winner of the 2017 RISK Award. The jury honoured the blueprint character of the project. Jury member Dr. Robert Glasser is convinced, that the EpiNurses will meaningfully improve disaster prevention in Nepal – and, in the future, hopefully in other countries of the world.

The prize was awarded on 24 May 2017 in a ceremony at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun. This is one of the most important gatherings on reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations worldwide.

During the ceremony, Sandra Wu, CEO of Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd, and jury member of the RISK Award emphasized the importance of new technologies for disaster risk management. At the same time she underlined that new technologies have to go hand in hand with traditional and local knowledge. Combining those two elements can create a safer environment for all. Thomas Loster, Chairman of Munich Re Foundation, thanked the hosts of the Global Platform for the opportunity to present three light-house projects including the winner to the public. Over 5000 delegates from all over the world attended the platform in Cancun.

Apsara Pandey, representative of the Nursing Association of Nepal (NAN), was delighted: “We are excited and happy to receive the 2017 RISK Award. This is a huge motivation for us to move on and empower the nurses in Nepal!”.

Thomas Loster (Munich Re Foundation) and Sandra Wu (RISK Award jury member) handed over the trophy to Apsara Pandey. The session was hosted by UNISDR, represented by David Stevens (right).

Text and Images: MunichRe