Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM

Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM

The Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM is the only rapid-response medical team in Poland, and one of several in Europe, able to reach areas affected by natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes) or humanitarian crises within 48 hours.

The team is run and funded by the Polish Centre for International Aid (PCPM) as part of its statutory activities. It operates at the place of the disaster under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the squad of the Poland Emergency Medical Team are experienced volunteers: doctors, paramedics, nurses, mountain rescuers, firefighters, and other specialist rescuers, as well as PCPM humanitarian workers supporting them (more than 150 people in total). The group of specialists from PCPM Medical Team is regularly trained. Training sessions, held many times a year, prepare medics for teamwork and international operations.

Years of experience

Just a few months after its formation, the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM passed its first real test. On 25 April 2015, as the Poles were preparing for the long May weekend, Nepal was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale. Before noon on the same day, the Nepalese authorities had officially requested help from the international community, and the next day, at noon on 26 April, the first team from the Emergency Medical Team was ready to go.

Already on 27 April, the first group of PCPM medics was already there. They reached the most devastated region as the first medical team from Poland. In total, the team helped more than 400 injured people, several of whom were in critical condition and a dozen in serious condition. This event proved how necessary Medical Emergency Teams are, where the one created by the PCPM went to a total of as many as 16 countries over the next 10 years.

– Humanitarian crisis in Iraq (March – April 2016) – Responding to an appeal by the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan, doctors from the PCPM Medical Emergency Team supported the operation of the emergency department at the main hospital in Erbil. The main hospital was receiving, among others, people injured in the fighting with the so-called Islamic State.

– Lebanon – Syrian refugee crisis (2015 – 2017) – PCPM doctors and paramedics support the PCPM-run health center for Syrian refugees in Lebanon (5 km from the Syrian border) with expertise, as well as a mobile clinic that reaches over a dozen refugee camps.

– Floods in Peru (April – May 2017) – At the request of the President of Peru, Mr Pedro Kuczynski, to the Polish Embassy in Lima, PCPM’s Medical Emergency Team supported the operation of a field hospital in Huarmey, destroyed by floods and mudslides.

– Uganda – South Sudanese refugee crisis (June 2017) – Emergency Medical Team prepared the hospital and health centers on the Uganda-South Sudan border to effectively assist injured refugees, including those with gunshot wounds. It treated and provided training to hospital staff in Midigo in northern Uganda in 2018.

– Palestine – medical training (September 2018) – two instructors – members of the Team, conducted a two-week training in Palestine for paramedics and representatives of the Palestine International Cooperation Agency (PICA) rapid response team on crisis management and mass events.

– Kenya 2018 – Members of the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM have been training firefighters in Kenya in basic and advanced medical operations. The trainings were held at the Training Centre in Kiambu, as well as at several fire stations in other counties in Kenya, including Muranga, Meru, and Kilifi.

– In 2019, the paramedics participated in projects implemented by the PCPM Foundation: they provided medical training in Lebanon, training for firefighters in Kenya, and ambulance personnel and members of the Rapid Response Team in Palestine. Based on their observations of the work of their colleagues in the Palestinian Red Crescent, they produced a report that formed the basis for training plans for local rescuers.

– After the giant explosion in the port of Beirut, in August 2020, the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM supported local medics in saving the lives and health of residents in the Lebanese capital. PCPM paramedics attended to patients in a mobile clinic when hospitals were short of space. They also helped on the streets. People who came to them either did not report to the hospital immediately after the explosion or were injured while the city was being decongested.

– The 2021 Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM supported UK-MED medics in Malawi. The UK-Polish team supported the Malawian health service, providing training to medics and caring for patients. The mission lasted eight weeks, with the British-Polish team traveling to the country in south-east Africa responding to a World Health Organization red alert. A red alert means that the health situation has far outstripped the country’s capacity and resources.

– In mid-November 2021, the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM took over operations from the “Medics on the Border group” and provided medical assistance outside the state of emergency zone during a humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. Medics from the PCPM Foundation operated in small teams on 24-hour shifts. They arrived by ambulance to the people in need and the injured.

– In 2022, cyclones Batsirai and Ana hit Madagascar. The element caused flooding and destroyed buildings, transport infrastructure, and power lines. More than 90,000 people lost their homes, nearly 100 died and many were injured. As part of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM went on a mission at the request of the Madagascar authorities. This was the first-ever PCPM medical mission under the auspices of the European Union. The PCPM mission to Madagascar, which involved 13 Polish volunteer medics, took more than two weeks.

– 6 February 2023 in Turkey was the most devastating earthquake in modern history. The disaster killed at least 55,700 people in Turkey and Syria combined and injured around 130,000. The Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM was put on standby to go to the earthquake area with aid. The PCPM Foundation sent medics to Turkey to assess the most pressing needs on the ground. In the meantime, the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM established cooperation with a British medical team operating in the Türkoğlu area. On behalf of the PCPM, a gynecologist traveled to Turkey

– There is a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s war with Hamas, affecting more than 2 million people. The Medical Emergency Team sent an expert to support the World Health Organization office in Egypt. His task was to coordinate activities and prepare medical teams before entering Gaza. His focus was on the mobilization of these teams and any formalities that needed to be fulfilled before crossing the border into Gaza.

COVID-19 pandemic

Specialists from the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM took part in six expert missions in Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, and Madagascar in 2020. All of them brought support to medics and medical facilities treating COVID-19 patients. They shared the experience they had gathered with Italian doctors in Brescia just after the pandemic was declared. The eyes of the whole world were focused on their work and they passed it on throughout the year during regular missions on three continents. They supported teams of doctors in outposts located in the mountains, in places where access to medical care was limited, where there was a lack of running water or medical staff. They continue to share their extensive experience, including online, in parallel with their home institutions in Poland. Despite their many intensive missions, they have therefore not left their home facilities in Poland without help. This allows the Polish team to be described as one of the most experienced in Europe and beyond in the field of COVID-19. In March 2020, members of the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM donated medical tents to two Warsaw hospitals, where patients are initially verified and then allocated to the appropriate ward.

In 2021, the PCPM joined the global HERoS (Health Emergency Response In Interconnected Systems) program. This program has the objective of increasing the effectiveness of coping with the spread of COVID-19 by using new technologies to do so and thus more effectively take care of patient safety around the world. The initiative, which brings together international medical teams, including the Italian Red Cross and Project Hope, aims to develop the most effective standards for effective emergency response worldwide. HERoS creates and provides solutions and guidelines for better crisis management, focusing on medics – public health emergency responders – to best care for their needs. With expert support, medics can better self-organize, coordinate wisely, and adapt quickly to a dynamically changing situation. To achieve this goal, HERoS supports organizational and technical innovations, such as the use of drones for vaccine distribution.


Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM has been helping. From March to September, at the Transit Centre at East Warsaw Station, the Team ran a medical point, helping refugees arriving at the Centre. During these 6 months, the PCPM Foundation received over 35,000 people there. Since September 2022, the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM has been working at the MEDEVAC Hub Medical Transit Centre in Jasionka near Rzeszów.


The Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM is led by foundation president Wojtek Wilk. He is supported by project coordinators Tomasz Lipert, and Monika Piątczak, who coordinates the medical team, the logistics division, and several experienced medics and logisticians.

Every year there are maneuvers, several training sessions as well as recruitment. All of the medics on the team work as volunteers, but full readiness, the purchase of equipment, and logistics during an action require a great deal of resources.

The Poland Medical Emergency Team PCPM is certified by the WHO as a so-called Type 1 Emergency Medical Team – EMT as one of seven such teams in the world operating at NGOs. According to WHO requirements, it is capable of assisting even in the most devastated areas for 2 to 4 weeks, with its hospital tents, a stock of medical supplies for 1,400 patients, a food supply, and autonomous water purification and power generation systems – a total of almost 5 tonnes of equipment. There are usually 16 to 20 people involved in the rescue operation.

Following WHO requirements, the Poland Medical Emergency Team is completely self-sufficient and ready to operate even in regions completely devastated by earthquakes or hurricanes. Due to its participation in the WHO emergency response system, the EMT PCPM operates primarily outside the European Union.

darowizna PCPM

darowizna PCPM

darowizna PCPM

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