Restoring the war-torn: securing medical teams in conflict zones
G4S Risk Management Group has over three decades of experience in successfully delivering specialised protective security services to customers such as NGOs, government bodies and large corporations based in fragile states, allowing them to safely carry out their work in the most high risk areas.
Working alongside security experts and explosive specialists, our medical staff, which we deploy to conflict-affected areas, play an equally crucial role, aiming to meet the demands of a growing need for medical care in these fragile environments, while also working under the constant threat of attack. G4S is also responsible for the protection and training of healthcare staff already present within these areas.
"Healthcare teams play a central role in every single one of our operations. Their expertise is relied on by so many and their bravery does not go unnoticed. In November 2018, when our compound in Kabul was targeted by a Taliban bomb and gun attack, the dedication of our medical staff who carried out life-saving treatment throughout the attack was admired by us all.” Charlie Burbridge, Managing Director, G4S Risk Management
Success through collaboration between healthcare and security experts
In Iraq, G4S works alongside the United Nations (UN) to identify and remove explosive remnants of war left behind from years of conflict. Successful delivery is ensured through a strong collaboration between medical teams and security experts.
The G4S medical team partnered with an Iraqi company, al-Saqar, to provide medical support to teams deployed in Mosul, Kirkuk and Sinjar.Together, the team designed a bespoke first responder course aimed at removing barriers between the medical workers and the explosive ordnance disposal teams.
Over five days, Iraqi medics underwent training in realistic scenarios, allowing each of them to be tested with confidence as an individual and team member against the UK Prehospital Emergency Medicine Framework (PHEM). The course encouraged confidence in each medic to allow them to practice in the most difficult of circumstances and with the most up-to-date skills.
G4S operates in many more parts of Iraq, South Sudan and Mali, clearing homes, schools, hospitals and villages of explosive remnants of war, in order to allow inhabitants to begin rebuilding their lives. Some of the most affected areas are also the most remote, with little access to healthcare or sufficient infrastructure. By providing additional resources, thorough healthcare training and qualified staff, G4S is able to provide the appropriate levels of care where they are most needed, such as some of the most rural parts of South Sudan where we employ qualified nurses and train them on Advanced Trauma Life Support Course (ATLS).
Even when the correct infrastructure is already in place to provide the right care to surrounding populations, staff, patients and visitors must still be protected from external threats. For example, the French Medical Institution for Mothers (FMIC) in Kabul, Afghanistan, which is a not-for-profit hospital dedicated to providing world-class medical services, attracts a high threat profile due to its empowerment of women and its links with the government of Afghanistan and western NGOs.
G4S conducted a security risk assessment of the French Medical Institution for Mothers and Children in 2018, and made a series of recommendations to enhance its security without hindering access for staff or patients, allowing the hospital to continue its work towards achieving a sustainable healthcare system in Afghanistan.
At Baghdad’s International Airport (BIAP), where the security has been provided by G4S for close to a decade, a medical clinic provides 24/7 services to all staff and international clients. The G4S medical clinic offers emergency and primary care services, complemented with diagnostic care, and paramedics are available to provide the necessary treatment from a simple or routine procedure to stabilising a critically ill or injured person before an evacuation.
Secure travel of medical staff to communities in the most affected areas
During the response to the Ebola crisis, G4S worked closely with the Department for International Development (DFID) to deliver an 18-month project managing a large vehicle fleet which allowed aid and healthcare workers to reach affected communities safely. Specific risks had to be mitigated, including fuel theft, asset shrinkage and unsafe practices.
G4S managed 239 all-terrain vehicles and provided periodic, scheduled, unscheduled and accident repair of the fleet, while also delivering a full refurbishment programme for 32 ambulances.The sustainability of the programme was supported through training, mentoring and transitioning local staff with technical development and accreditations.
The need for healthcare teams in fragile environments is growing, and we are dedicated to expanding on our current successes to reach more communities. In Africa, considerable growth plans are in motion for G4S Risk Management, as we work towards growing out of our regional businesses in South Sudan and Mali, and into the Sahel region to provide further services to rural or at-risk areas. As more teams are deployed, the need for more specialised healthcare staff will inevitably follow, which will be crucial to providing sustainable healthcare systems to those who need it the most.