INTRODUCTION In January 2011 landslides and floods followed heavy rain in the Mountainous Region of Rio de Janeiro State (“Região Serrana”), in southeastern Brazil. These events led to the largest disaster registered in Brazilian recent history. Few studies addressed the impacts of this disaster on public health, and we found none addressing the impact on mental health. This study reviewed the consequences of the 2011 disaster in the “Região Serrana”, by comparing the demand for public mental health assistance data from time periods before and after the even METHODS We performed an ecologic study, analysing the aggregate data from “Região Serrana” during the period two years before and after the disaster, exporting data from the Brazilian open access public health database. The primary outcome was defined as Mental Health Care Demand, and for that we calculated the number of mental health care visits per month, the proportion of visits due to mental health care and the monthly absolute number of mental health care visits per CAPS – “Centro de Atenção Psicossocial” (Psychosocial Care Centre). For secondary outcomes we evaluated the total number of deaths by any reason, and the total number of hospitalizations. The other health administrative regions of Rio de Janeiro state were used as control group. RESULTS We observed that there was an important increase in the rate of visits due to mental health in the six months after the landslides, from 13,875 to 17,690, reaching its maximum one year after the event totalizing 21,980 visits (Dec 2011). It was also observed that the proportion of visits due to mental health disorders increased after the event in the “Região Serrana”, as well as the number of mental health care visits per CAPS. DISCUSSION In conclusion, we observed that the 2011 Landslides in “Região Serrana” led to a sustained higher burden to public mental health care. There was an increase in the demand for mental health visits, and the ratio of visits per CAPS was higher during most part of the studied period after the event, even with the region having more CAPS than before.
Introduction: In August 2016, the United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General acknowledged the U.N.’s role in the cholera epidemic that has beset Haiti since 2010. Two months later, the Secretary General issued a historic apology to the Haitian people before the U.N. General Assembly, for the organization’s insufficient response to the cholera outbreak. These steps are part of the U.N.’s “new approach” to cholera in Haiti, which also includes launching a material assistance package for those most affected by cholera.
Methods: This paper draws on the authors’ experience and findings from consultations with more than 60,000 victims and communities affected by disasters and violence in a dozen countries. We reviewed the literature on best practices for consultation with and outreach to communities affected by development and transitional justice programming, and reviewed our own findings from previous studies with a view to identifying recommendations for ensuring that the assistance package reflects the views of people affected by cholera.
Results: The assistance package program is an opportunity to rebuild the relationship between the victims and the United Nations. This can only be achieved if victims are informed and engaged in the process. This consultation effort is also an opportunity to answer a set of key questions related to the nature, structure, and implementation of the victims’ assistance program, but also how the program may be designed to contribute to rebuilding Haitians’ confidence in the U.N. as an institution that promotes peace, human rights, and development.
Discussion: We recommend that the consultations must be accompanied by an outreach effort that provides clear, accurate information on the assistance program, so that it begins to establish a dialogue between the U.N. and cholera victims. Finally, we conclude by offering a number of concrete next steps that the U.N. can take to kick start the consultation process.
Introduction: Urbanization has challenged many humanitarian practices given the complexity of cities. Urban humanitarian crises have similarly made identifying vulnerable populations difficult. As humanitarians respond to cities with chronic deficiencies in basic needs stressed by a crisis, identifying and prioritizing the most in need populations with finite resources is critical.
Methods: The full systematic review applied standard systematic review methodology that was described in detail, peer-reviewed, and published before the research was conducted.
Results: While the science of humanitarian practice is still developing, a systematic review of targeting vulnerable populations in urban humanitarian crises shed some light on the evidence base to guide policy and practice. This systematic review, referenced and available online, led to further findings that did not meet the pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria for evidence set out in the full review but that the authors, in their expert opinion, believe provide valuable insight nonetheless given their recurrence.
Discussion: These additional findings that did not meet criteria for evidence and formal inclusion in the full manuscript, but deemed valuable by the subject expert authors, are discussed in this commentary
Introduction: Maternal mortality rates can be adversely affected by armed conflict, implying a greater level of vulnerability among women, and is often linked to the lack of or limited access to maternal healthcare during conflict. Previous research in Uganda has shown that armed conflict negatively impacts women’s utilization of maternal healthcare services for a multitude of reasons at the individual, health-system and political levels.
Methods: This study compared aggregated Demographic and Health Surveys data from 13 districts in Northern Uganda, a conflict-affected region, with data from the rest of the country, for the use of maternal healthcare services for the years 1988, 1995, 2000, 2006 and 2011, using statistical analyses and logistic regression. Specific indicators for maternal healthcare utilization included contraceptive use, antenatal care, skilled assistance at birth and institutional delivery.
Results: Use of contraception and institutional deliveries among women in Northern Uganda was significantly lower compared to the rest of the country. However, skilled assistance at birth among women in Northern Uganda was significantly higher.
Conclusions: The findings in this study show that armed conflict can have a negative impact on aspects of maternal healthcare such as contraceptive use and institutional deliveries; however, other indicators such as skilled assistance at birth were seen to be better among conflict-affected populations. This reiterates the complex nature of armed conflict and the interplay of different factors such as conflict intensity, existing health systems and services, and humanitarian interventions that could influence maternal healthcare utilization.
Key words: Armed conflict, maternal health utilization, Northern Uganda, contraception, skilled assistance at birth, antenatal care, institutional delivery
Introduction: In Northern Ghana, a combination of torrential rains coupled with the spilling of the Bagre dam in neighboring Burkina Faso in the past few years has resulted in perennial flooding of communities. This has often led to the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMAO) the main disaster responder agency in Ghana, being called upon to act. However affected communities have never had the opportunity to evaluate the activities of the agency. The aim of this study is therefore to assess the performance of the main responder agency by affected community members to improve on future disaster management.
Methods: A mixed qualitative design employing a modified form of the community score card methodology and focus group discussions was conducted in the 4 most affected communities during the last floods of 2012 in the Kasena-Nankana West district of the Upper East Region of Northern Ghana. Community members comprising of chiefs, elders, assembly members, women groups, physically challenged persons, farmers, traders and youth groups formed a group in each of the four communities. Generation and scoring of evaluative indicators was subsequently performed by each group through the facilitation of trained research assistants. Four Focus group discussions (FGDs) were also conducted with the group members in each community to get an in-depth understanding of how the responder agency performed in handling disasters.
Results: A total of four community score cards and four focus group discussions were conducted involving 48 community representatives. All four communities identified NADMO as the main responder agency during the last disaster. Indicators such as education/awareness, selection process of beneficiaries, networking/collaboration, timing, quantity of relief items, appropriateness, mode of distribution of relief items, investigation and overall performance of NADMO were generated and scored. The timing of response, quantity and appropriateness of relief items were evaluated as being poor whereas the overall performance of the responder agency was above average.
Conclusion: NADMO was identified as the main responder agency during the last disasters with community members identifying education/awareness, selection process of beneficiaries, networking/collaboration, timing of response, quantity of relief items, appropriateness of relief items, mode of distribution of relief items, investigation and overall performance as the main evaluative indicators. The overall performance of NADMO was rated to be satisfactory.
Key words: Kasena-Nankana West district, NADMO, community score card, Rural Northern Ghana
Crisis-affected populations and humanitarian aid providers are both becoming increasingly reliant on information and communications technology (ICTs) for finding and provisioning aid. This is exposing critical, unaddressed gaps in the legal and ethical frameworks that traditionally defined and governed the professional conduct of humanitarian action. The most acute of these gaps is a lack of clarity about what human rights people have regarding information in disaster, and the corresponding obligations incumbent upon governments and aid providers. This need is lent urgency by emerging evidence demonstrating that the use of these technologies in crisis response may be, in some cases, causing harm to the very populations they intend to serve. Preventing and mitigating these harms, while also working to responsibly ensure access to the benefits of information during crises, requires a rights-based framework to guide humanitarian operations. In this brief report, we provide a commentary that accompanies our report, the Signal Code: A Human Rights Approach to Information During Crisis, where we have identified five rights pertaining to the use of information and data during crisis which are grounded in current international human rights and customary law. It is our belief that the continued relevance of the humanitarian project, as it grows increasingly dependent on the use of data and ICTs, urgently requires a discussion of these rights and corresponding obligations.
Introduction: Disaster preparedness is defined as actions that ensure resources necessary to carry out an effective response are available before a disaster. Disaster preparedness requires a thorough understanding of the factors that influence performance or nonperformance of disaster preparedness behaviors (DPB). The major aim of this research was to further our understanding of DPB based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB).
Method: This was a cross-sectional study of factors determining of DPB in a representative sample of 1233 Tehran inhabitants. Measures derived from the TPB were obtained in the unprepared and prepared people.
Results: Consistent with the theory, intentions to do DPB could the person predicted from attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control with respect to DPB; and actually doing DPB was strongly related to intentions and perceptions of control assessed in the prepared people. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Conclusion: An effective intervention will not only have to encourage people of the desirability of DPB, but also to provide them with the skills and means to do it. The more strongly they can be made to feel that they have control over DPB, the more likely they are to carry out their intentions. That is, heightened perceived control tends to strengthen people’s motivation to do DPB.
Key words: theory of planned behavior; disaster; preparedness
Iran is the third country in the world with the highest number of registered refugees with the majority coming from Afghanistan. They suffer major health and social risks yet their health status has never been comprehensively determined.
This systematic review of the literature highlights major disparities among documented immigrants in health access, communicable and non-communicable diseases and the increasingly desperate plight of undocumented immigrants.
Comparing with Iranian population, the findings suggest the higher prevalence of most diseases among Afghan immigrants and refugees. This highlights the importance of increasing the migrants’ access to health services from both public health as well as human rights perspectives.
Although the Iranian government has taken new initiatives to overcome this challenge, certain issues have still remained unaddressed. Potential solutions to improve this process are discussed.
Introduction: Humanitarian emergencies and the number of people who are adversely affected are increasing. In such emergencies, the vulnerability of women and girls to gender-based violence increases significantly and they often experience high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV). There are a limited number of interventions to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) and IPV in the contexts of humanitarian emergencies, and there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of these preventive interventions. This is the protocol for a systematic review that will synthesize the evidence on interventions for primary or secondary prevention of IPV in humanitarian settings, and assess the effect of existing types of IPV-related interventions in these settings.
Methods and Design: The PRISMA-P 2015 statement has been used to prepare this report. Studies published from January 2000 to January 2017 will be reviewed with no language limits. Any experimental, quasi-experimental, or controlled trials will be included. A combination of four key concepts, including “IPV” AND “population” AND “humanitarian setting” AND “intervention” will be used in the search and a variety of information sources will be used: (1) bibliographic databases; (2) special databases and grey literature; (3) and the reference lists of eligible studies. Two reviewers will independently screen articles, extract relevant data and assess study quality. Discrepancies will be resolved through consensus. Risk of bias will be assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and the quality of evidence will be assessed using the CONSORT checklist. A narrative synthesis will be provided. If a sufficient number of studies are found, their results will be pooled using a random-effects meta-analysis. For dichotomous outcomes, summaries of intervention effects for each study will be provided by calculating risk ratios with 95% confidence interval. Standardized mean differences will be used for continuous outcomes.
Discussion: The review will be useful for IPV management policy and related planning. It will help researchers, policymakers and guideline developers with an interest in reducing violence against women among refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and conflict-affected population.
Correction The links for Annex 1 and Annex 2 are incorrect. The correct links are provided here. Annex 1 – LIST OF METHODS ANALYSED Link to external file Annex 2 – EXCLUDED METHODS Link to external file References Beccari B. A Comparative Analysis of Disaster Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience Composite Indicators. PLOS Currents Disasters. 2016 […]