Dr von Schreeb has carried out needs assessments in a number of disaster situations. He examined the need for international medical assistance after the terrorist action in a school in Beslan, Russia, in 2004, and the low-intensity conflict in the Palestinian territories in 2002. He also studied the use of Foreign Field Hospitals in the natural (sudden impact) disaster zones of Bam (Iran) in 2003, Haiti and Aceh (Indonesia) in 2004 and Pakistan (Kashmir) 2005.
What he discovered was a lack of understanding of people’s needs subsequent to the disaster and that international assistance takes inadequate account of existing resources. International field hospitals specialising in life-saving trauma care were dispatched to four areas of natural disaster. Not one arrived within the 48 hours in which lives could still be saved.
If appropriate assistance is to be provided, organisers need access to information about the disaster, the affected area, the size of the population, the socio-economic situation and the available local and regional resources. International donors of humanitarian assistance have jointly decided to distribute the money on the basis of local needs. There are well-described methods of making needs assessments, but the results are too rarely used. One of Dr von Schreeb’s sub-studies examined the extent to which Sida took account of needs assessments in its decisions to fund humanitarian health projects in 2003. Only one third of these decisions contained information about the size of the population to be helped or other factors reflecting their health needs.
“My interpretation of this is that it’s difficult to provide funding on the basis of needs,” says Dr von Schreeb. ”Other procedures are needed for having needs govern funding decisions.”
During his time as medical coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) in Kashmir, Dr von Schreeb was able to test a new rapid method of gathering needs assessment data in a disaster area. After the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, he interviewed people at health facilities. His interviewees were geographically representative of the studied population, and the early estimated death and injury toll compared well with the results of a later study in which everyone living in the area was interviewed.
“The interviews gave a good, immediate idea of what people needed – in this case to have their houses repaired before the winter,” says Dr von Schreeb.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
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