Health policy development in wartime: establishing the Baito health system in Tigray, Ethiopia.
This paper documents health experiences and the public health activities of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The paper provides background data about Tigray and the emergence of its struggle for a democratic Ethiopia. The origins of the armed struggle are described, as well as the impact of the conflict on local health systems and health status. The health-related activities and public health strategies of the TPLF are described and critiqued in some detail, particular attention is focused on the development of the baito system, the emergent local government structures kindled by the TPLF as a means of promoting local democracy, accountability, and social and economic development. Important issues arise from this brief case-study, such as how emerging health systems operating in wartime can ensure that not only are basic curative services maintained, but preventive and public health services are developed. Documenting the experiences of Tigray helps identify constraints and possibilities for assisting health systems to adapt and cope with ongoing conflict, and raises possibilities that in their aftermath they leave something which can be built upon and further developed. It appears that promoting effective local government may be an important means of promoting primary health care. (+info)
Detection of poliovirus circulation by environmental surveillance in the absence of clinical cases in Israel and the Palestinian authority.
The global eradication of poliomyelitis, believed to be achievable around the year 2000, relies on strategies which include high routine immunization coverage and mass vaccination campaigns, along with continuous monitoring of wild-type virus circulation by using the laboratory-based acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are located in a geographical region in which poliovirus is still endemic but have been free of poliomyelitis since 1988 as a result of intensive immunization programs and mass vaccination campaigns. To monitor the wild-type virus circulation, environmental surveillance of sewage samples collected monthly from 25 to 30 sites across the country was implemented in 1989 and AFP surveillance began in 1994. The sewage samples were processed in the laboratory with a double-selective tissue culture system, which enabled economical processing of large number of samples. Between 1989 and 1997, 2,294 samples were processed, and wild-type poliovirus was isolated from 17 of them in four clusters, termed "silent outbreaks," in September 1990 (type 3), between May and September 1991 (type 1), between October 1994 and June 1995 (type 1), and in December 1996 (type 1). Fifteen of the 17 positive samples were collected in the Gaza Strip, 1 was collected in the West Bank, and 1 was collected in the Israeli city of Ashdod, located close to the Gaza Strip. The AFP surveillance system failed to detect the circulating wild-type viruses. These findings further emphasize the important role that environmental surveillance can play in monitoring the eradication of polioviruses. (+info)
Challenge of Goodness II: new humanitarian technology, developed in croatia and bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991-1995, and applied and evaluated in Kosovo 1999.
This paper presents improvements of the humanitarian proposals of the Challenge of Goodness project published earlier (1). In 1999 Kosovo crisis, these proposals were checked in practice. The priority was again on the practical intervention - helping people directly - to prevent, stop, and ease suffering. Kosovo experience also prompted us to modify the concept of the Challenge of Goodness. It should include research and education (1. redefinition of health, 2. confronting genocide, 3. university studies and education, and 4. collecting experience); evaluation (1. Red Cross forum, 2. organization and technology assessment, 3. Open Hand - Experience of Good People); activities in different stages of war or conflict in: 1. prevention (right to a home, Hate Watch, early warning), 2. duration (refugee camps, prisoners-of-war camps, global hospital, minorities), 3. end of conflict (planned, organized, and evaluated protection), 4. post conflict (remaini ng and abandoned populations, prisoners of war and missing persons, civilian participation, return, and renewal). Effectiveness of humanitarian intervention may be performed by politicians, soldiers, humanitarian workers, and volunteers, but the responsibility lies on science. Science must objectively collect data, develop hypotheses, check them in practice, allow education, and be the force of good, upon which everybody can rely. Never since the World War II has anybody in Europe suffered in war and conflict so much as peoples in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. We should search for the meaning of their suffering, and develop new knowledge and technology of peace. (+info)
Lessons on humanitarian assistance.
Conflict almost completely destroyed Rwanda's infrastructure in 1994. Natural disasters, as well as disasters caused by humans, have severely challenged humanitarian aid available within the country. In this study, we have analysed the experiences of nongovernmental organizations since the summer of 1994 to evaluate how these difficulties may be overcome. One of the problems identified has been restrictions on the ability to introduce effective health planning due to the poor quality of available local information. The implementation of effective plans that show due consideration to the environment and society is clearly necessary. Effective monitoring and detailed observation are identified as being essential to the continuity of existing humanitarian assistance. (+info)
Measles in Vietnamese refugee children in Hong Kong.
From September 1991-January 1992, there was a measles epidemic in an established refugee camp for 7000 Vietnamese 'Boat People' living in Hong Kong. This 16 week outbreak occurred against a backdrop of poor uptake of measles vaccination and overcrowded living conditions. Two hundred and sixty-two children were affected (155 boys, 107 girls); 235 children (89.7 %) were < 2 years old, age range 5-39 months. Children age 6-11 months had the highest crude attack rate (AR) of 54.3%. The highest age specific crude AR was 83.8% in children aged 14 months. Measles complications affected 234 (89.3%) children. Sixty-six children (25.2%) were admitted to hospital. There were two deaths from pneumonia, giving a case fatality rate of 0.76%. Measles control in refugee camps continues to be a public health challenge. (+info)
Health status of and intervention for U.S.-bound Kosovar refugees--Fort Dix, New Jersey, May-July 1999.
In March 1999, as a result of armed conflict in the Kosovo province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, approximately 860,000 ethnic Albanians sought refuge in neighboring Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Republic of Montenegro--Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. As a result of massive refugee movement into FYROM, many nations, including the United States, accepted refugees for resettlement. Refugee processing centers were established in FYROM and the United States. In the United States, the Migration Health Assessment (MHA) of refugees was undertaken at Fort Dix, New Jersey (i.e., Operation Provide Refuge), in collaboration with the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP), Public Health Service, under the direction of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assessments in Skopje, FYROM, were conducted by the International Organization for Migration. This report summarizes the results of collaboration between OEP and CDC to provide preventive health programs for 4045 Kosovar refugees at Fort Dix during a 10-week period, which found that the refugees were in good health and underscores the need for a tailored intervention program targeted at the health conditions of the specific population. (+info)
Nutritional status and mortality of refugee and resident children in a non-camp setting during conflict: follow up study in Guinea-Bissau.
OBJECTIVE: To study the effects on children of humanitarian aid agencies restricting help to refugee families (internally displaced people). DESIGN: Follow up study of 3 months. SETTING: Prabis peninsular outside Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau, which has functioned as a refugee area for internally displaced people in the ongoing war, and the study area of the Bandim health project in Bissau. PARTICIPANTS: 422 children aged 9-23 months in 30 clusters. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mid-upper arm circumference and survival in relation to residence status. RESULTS: During the refugee situation all children deteriorated nutritionally, and mortality was high (3.0% in a 6 week period). Rice consumption was higher in families resident in Prabis than in refugees from Bissau but there was no difference in food expenditure. Nutritional status, measured by mid- upper arm circumference, was not associated with rice consumption levels in the family, and the decline in circumference was significantly worse for resident than for refugee children; the mid-upper arm circumference of refugee children increased faster than that of resident children. For resident children, mortality was 4.5 times higher (95% confidence interval 1.1 to 30.0) than for refugee children. Mortality for both resident and refugee children was 7.2 times higher (1.3 to 133.9) during the refugee's stay in Prabis compared with the period after the departure of the refugees. CONCLUSION: In a non-camp setting, residents may be more malnourished and have higher mortality than refugees. Major improvements in nutritional status and a reduction in mortality occurred in resident and refugee children as soon as refugees returned home despite the fact that there was no improvement in food availability. (+info)
The assessment of immigration status in health research.
OBJECTIVE: This report examines methodological issues relating to immigrant health, definition of immigrant, the assessment of immigrant status, and sampling strategies with immigrant populations. METHODS: A literature review was conducted for the period 1977-98, utilizing various computer data bases to identify relevant studies. A total of 179 separate U.S.-based studies were reviewed. Twenty-two sample instruments and two revised versions of instruments for the assessment of immigration status were evaluated. RESULTS: In general, research relating to immigrants and their health has not attended to methodological issues inherent in such investigations. Instruments utilized to assess immigration status differ across studies, making cross-study comparisons difficult. Few studies have relied on probability sampling. Almost no data are available on field performance of instruments developed to assess immigration status. CONCLUSIONS: Development of an appropriate instrument requires consideration of the definition of immigrant to be used, the level of respondent knowledge to be presumed, the political and social climate that exists at the time of the survey administration, the populations and geographic locales with which the instrument will be utilized, the complexity of the instrument, and methods of the instrument administration. In view of the paucity of data pertaining to the field performance of instruments used to assess immigration status, any instrument considered for use must be field tested and revised appropriately before incorporation into a national survey. The appropriateness of any particular sampling strategy should be evaluated in the context of the field testing. (+info)