Since 7th October, the escalating crisis in the Middle East has caused large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries. In the Gaza Strip, airstrikes and a lack of medical supplies, food, water and fuel have virtually depleted the health system. The Most Venerable Order of St John Eye Hospital in Gaza sustained collateral damage as a result of hostilities in the neighbourhood and it is no longer functional. Johanniter International Assistance demands access to the region for humanitarian aid measures and the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Johanniter is in daily contact with all staff and partners in the region and The Most Venerable Order of St John plans to carry out an assessment of the damage. After any cessation of fire, it is expected that St John Eye Hospital staff response will focus on Outreach Services to resume medically necessary care for patients. In Lebanon, Johanniter and its partners support the provision of first aid and relief supplies to the displaced. Continue reading
Update on humanitarian aid for Ukraine
As the Russian aggression against Ukraine continues, so does our network’s solidarity: our members provide immediate emergency relief and supplies to Ukraine, transport services, as well as accommodation and support in services and goods to refugees. Our Hungarian member continuously provides support in places where large numbers of people in need have arrived, both in Transcarpathia and in many other parts of Ukraine. Johannita Hungary supports construction projects, soup kitchens, families, and children in various ways. They arranged donations such as backpacks with school supplies for orphans and delivered school furniture to education and social care centres as well as refugee shelters. Read all updates on our network's activity for Ukraine here.
Vacancy notice at Johanniter International
The Brussels office of Johanniter International is looking for a new Communication Officer to begin inJanuary 2024in a part-time position (12 hours/week) for six months. The main task of the new employee will be to contribute to the communication activities and to implement the European-funded project called ‘TeamUp’, the aim of which is to best prepare First Responders for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRN-E) events. The role of the JOIN Office will focus on dissemination and communication activities to maximise the impact of the project during and after its implementation. Continue reading
Restart a Heart 2023
Restart a Heart is held every October on the 16th, when thousands of people across the UK, and many more worldwide, come together to increase public awareness of cardiac arrests and train people in life-saving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and defibrillator use. This year is the tenth year that the campaign has run and St John Ambulance invited people to learn CPR through a mix of face-to-face and digital opportunities. Between 9th and 23rd October, St John Ambulance volunteers across England hosted CPR training sessions and CPR demonstrations in their communities. Our Polish member also organised an information event and educated children and students in CPR. St John Ambulance additionally launched three key actions – “Phone, Push, Press” – to help people feel confident to use a defibrillator to increase cardiac arrest survival rates. Read more here.
Fifteen Austrian and six Polish volunteers at the Berlin Marathon
On 24th September, the Berlin Marathon took place with more than 47,000 runners along the 42.195 kilometre course. With thousands of spectators, the race was once again a sporting event of superlatives. Johanniter Germany provided security for the marathon with more than 300 helpers from all over Europe. 15 volunteers from Austria and 6 volunteers from our Polish member joined the German colleagues. This meant that all participants, whether runners or spectators, could rely on receiving immediate help in the event of a health problem. The event also marked the 15th Berlin Marathon for which Johanniter Berlin was in charge of the medical services. Read more (in German) here.
Two English volunteers at the EuroPride Parade and Concert in Malta
Volunteer Swaps are a perfect opportunity to "learn about other countries, to share best practices and to continue to show how St John truly is a global family of like-minded people, all wanting to do their best to support their communities". On the third September weekend, our Maltese member provided medical coverage at the EuroPride Parade and Concert in Valletta. The festivities included a concert featuring Christina Aguilera and the EuroPride March. St John Malta was joined by two St John Ambulance volunteers from England who supported the festivities. Read what Richard Salter and Mark Adhen report here.
News from the Members
Austria: Johanniter offers extensive services for homeless people in the winter season
One of the main focuses of Johanniter's work has always been to support people at risk of poverty and homeless people. To this end, our Austrian member now offers 390 beds as well as a warming room in four Johanniter facilities throughout Vienna. This is part of the city’s "Winter Package 2023/2024" for homeless people starting on 2nd November which was presented together with the City Councillor for Health, the Vienna Social Fund and all partner organisations. Read more (in German) here.
Poland: Church Service and Award Ceremony in Warsaw
On 29th October, a Church Service took place in the Ascension Evangelical Parish of Warsaw. During the solemn liturgy, Dr Grzegorz Giemza, President of our Polish member Joannici Dzieło Pomocy, received the Cross of the Knight of Honour from the hands of Knight Herbert von Bose. As background, the Polish Subcommandery of the Johanniterorden was established in 2011 and its Knights are spread all over the country, living in Wrocław, Łódź, Kętrzyn, and Warsaw. Joannici Dzieło Pomocy is the enterprise of the Polish Subcommandery and has about 600 volunteers. Read the article about the ceremony (in Polish) here.
News from Europe
JOIN Office presents MED1stMR at trade fair in Dresden
From 12th to 14th October, the JOIN Office presented the MED1stMR project at the FLORIAN trade fair for fire services, civil defense, and disaster protection in Dresden, Germany. With 30,000 visitors, the trade fair set a new record with a big interest in the stand the JOIN Office shared with Johanniter Germany. Eva Pelgen spoke to Johanniter first responder, instructor, and educator- influencer Christian Manshen aka Samy Splint about the future of mass casualty incident training for medical first responders and informed the public and experts about the mixed reality training throughout the three days.
MED1stMR Field Trial and consortium meeting in Heidelberg
The last week of September was an intensive one for the MED1stMR project. The second Field Trial took place in Heidelberg at the facilities of the University Clinic Heidelberg. In parallel, on 26th and 27th September, the consortium came together for a general meeting. The meeting marked the last face-to-face general assembly and set the course for the final conference to be held from 17th - 18th April 2024 and the final project outcomes. Continue reading.
MED1stMR’s Green Manikin
The Green Manikin is part of the project’s research that explores the wider use of mixed reality training options. The manikin is used in studies to measure participants’ levels of physical- and self-presence, stress levels, and technology acceptance during the simulation. It proposes a novel approach combining a physical manikin with a virtual avatar, allowing trainees to interact with both real and virtual elements by using the Varjo XR-3 mixed-reality headset. The patient is haptic but at the same time overlayed with different injuries and animations as well as a virtual background with additional avatars and other environmental effects. Using real tools and the trainee’s own hands is a major advantage of this prototype. Read more about the Green Manikin here.
Johanniter Austria and Germany attend events in Brussels
In the last week of October, the JOIN Office received visits from Johanniter colleagues. Thea Winterburn, responsible for European and national funding at Johanniter Germany, came for a networking event of Diakonie in Brussels. Diakonie is the social welfare organisation of Germany’s Protestant churches. Furthermore, Georg Aumayr and Benjamin Schuster from Austria attended the Security Research Event which is the annual meeting where industry, policy makers and knowledge institutions discuss the state of play and current challenges.
Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network Newsletter
The 10th issue of the UCP Knowledge Network’s newsletter details the latest operations of the UCPM where Johanniter Germany plays a prominent role, including 15 new activations of the Mechanism during the summer in response to extreme weather events. The articles focus on Moldova joining the UCPM, the new training programme, and the disaster preparedness and response exercises with the Eastern Partnership Region. The science section includes the EU’s Risk Data Hub for Disaster Risk Management, the upgraded Copernicus Emergency’s early warning system for floods that supports civil protection efforts, the future impact of El Niño’s intensification, as well as an overview of the INFORM suite and the introduction of the tool INFORM Risk 2024. The issue also provides an overview in the current Horizon Europe funding opportunities in Disaster Risk Reduction with the call for proposals open until 23rd November. Read about all civil protection-related news and upcoming events here.
Commission presents measures to prevent shortages of medicines
In order to prevent shortages of medicines, as Europe experienced last winter, the European Commission has presented a catalogue of measures with which it wants to prevent shortages in the future. It is responding to corresponding demands from the Member States. In the communication published on 24th October, the short- medium- and long-term measures are listed. To prevent shortages of antibiotics as early as this winter, the Commission will set up a "voluntary solidarity mechanism" that will facilitate the exchange of medicines between Member States in case of acute need. In addition, it wants to support the Member States in the targeted joint procurement of treatment options. Member States are also to be able to make use of exemptions to ensure that medicines reach patients quickly. A list of critical medicines will be published by the end of the year. Among the long-term measures is the creation of a "Critical Medicines Alliance" by early 2024.