Latest advances in the EGALURG project: European cooperation network to improve health care in isolated communities, emergencies and disasters on both sides of the Pyrenees

At the fourth partnership meeting, the partners presented their progress, the conclusions of which will serve as a basis for exchange at the next workshop scheduled for 25 November in Toulouse.
The cross-border European cooperation network EGALURG, which focuses on promoting the improvement of emergency and disaster health care on both sides of the Pyrenees, held its fourth partnership meeting on 22 and 23 September. During the meeting, the advances in the actions of the four partner organisations were presented: the University Hospital Centre of Toulouse (CHUT), Navarrabiomed, the Basque Coast Hospital Centre (CHCB) and the Medical Emergency System (SEM).
Among the results obtained so far, the mobile hospital created by the CHUT, used to deal with COVID-19, has travelled around the territories of the partner entities over the last few months, reinforcing emergency services by carrying out mass PCRs. This infrastructure responds to the research, development and technological innovation action of the project, focused on designing and developing tools to better respond to an emergency or disaster situation. This initiative has been selected by the Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP) to participate in the European Interreg Project Slam 2021 competition, in which it has been recognised with a meritorious fifth place. It has also aroused great media interest at international level, reaching as far away as Korea. The project was also presented during the “Citizen’s Dialogue” debate during the European Union’s Week of Regions and Cities.
At the same time, the CHCB and Navarrabiomed are working together on the creation of an interactive cartography that will register all the existing health facilities in the regions of the Pyrenean slope, with the aim of analysing the necessary health deployment in major events or in the case of major natural disasters such as a hypothetical massive sixth-generation fire. This action is currently in the data collection phase, which will be used to establish protocols for action on both sides of the Pyrenees.

Cross-border training

One of the key axes of the project is the creation of a master’s degree to promote specialised training for professionals in emergency and disaster situations, an activity led by the EMS. Structured over two years, blended learning and with a cross-border and inter-university character, the studies will not only be aimed at health personnel, but also at other agents involved in this type of event, such as communication or logistics. The master’s degree will consist of four modules, which will deal with specific crisis situations that students will have to deal with. Together with the Master’s thesis, the studies will amount to a total of 65 credits. The master’s degree can be taken from the start of the next university year.
For its part, Navarrabiomed has designed an emergency simulation platform that can be integrated into teaching activities, both for the master’s degree and for other training courses at universities in the partners’ regions.

Professional workshop, 25 November

A professional meeting will take place in Toulouse on 25 November, organised around several conferences and round tables that will deal with different cross-border collaboration projects, including those developed within the framework of the EGALURG project. The prospects for disaster medicine and the potential obstacles to cross-border health collaboration will also be discussed. Innovative tools such as the UMPEO mobile hospital, the UMDEO mobile decontamination station, the U2MR mobile command post and the Barcelona multi-casualty IT application will also be demonstrated.

The total budget to carry out EGALURG amounts to €2,343,192, of which €1,523,075 (65%) has been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Programme (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The aim of POCTEFA is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra border area. Its support focuses on the development of cross-border economic, social and environmental activities through joint strategies for sustainable territorial development.