Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Humanitarian assistance often lacks needs assessment

12.11.2007
The first academic thesis in Sweden on international health assistance in disaster zones is to be presented at the medical university Karolinska Institutet. In his thesis, Dr Johan von Schreeb shows that international assistance is often sent to disaster areas without any prior needs assessment having been made of the affected population.

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.

Thesis: Needs assessments for international humanitarian health assistance in disasters
Johan von Schreeb, Department of Public Health Science, Karolinska Institutet
The public defence will be taking place at 9.00 am on 23 November 2007 at Karolinska Institutet Campus Solna, Stockholm.

Katarina Sternudd | alfa
Further information:
http://diss.kib.ki.se/2007/978-91-7357-375-7/
http://www.ki.se

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

Im Focus: Famous “sandpile model” shown to move like a traveling sand dune

Researchers at IST Austria find new property of important physical model. Results published in PNAS

The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Volcanic Binge And Its Frosty Hangover

21.02.2019 | Earth Sciences

Cleaning 4.0 in the meat processing industry – higher cleaning efficiency

21.02.2019 | Trade Fair News

New mechanisms regulating neural stem cells

21.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>