News: Public and global health students visit Finnish Red Cross logistics centre by Virpi Teinilä and Ella Näsi

Photos: Davaa Baasan

Finnish Red Cross logistics centre is situated in Tampere and it maintains domestic and international ability to help. Organizing international aid requires special knowledge and skills in the areas of material supply, logistics, procurement, technology and health care. Virpi Teinilä, who studies Public and Global Health at the University of Tampere, is one of the health care professionals working for the Finnish Red Cross. She invited her classmates to visit the logistics centre to hear how Red Cross responds to global health challenges and supports communities who face disasters.

Students of public and global health will be equipped with necessary expertise, skills and tools to work in complex emerging public and global health challenges. During their visit to the logistics centre, many examples from recent deployments were given on how this expertise will be needed in the case of natural disasters, conflicts, epidemics and migration. Understanding of health systems, health promotion, epidemiology and climate change are all knowledge areas that Red Cross requires from their international delegates, for example in the role of public health coordinator. The importance of cross sectoral knowledge and understanding global dynamics influencing health were also mentioned in the presentation.

The Finnish Red Cross logistics centre has a showroom with some parts of their field hospital on display. There are also posters with pictures from previous deployments. The PGH students felt that it was very useful to get a comprehensive tour through the logistic centre. Virpi Teinilä explained the principles that guide the co-operation of the different national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. She also provided her fellow students with concrete real-life stories from Haiti, Sierra Leone and other places where Finnish Red Cross has been providing material and professional help.

Finnish Red Cross is known for its strong health care professionals and its ability to send experts in many fields together with material, such as an emergency clinic or a hospital to provide health care to disaster affected communities. At the moment there is an emergency hospital opening in Bangladesh due to a migration crisis. This material and personnel were deployed from Finland together with Norwegian Red Cross. These real case examples will be discussed in the future PGH courses, such as migration and health and health care in disasters.