public health in international and humanitarian disaster management


You are an Emergency Manager in your respective country. A highly infectious influenza strain has been detected. There is a limited quantity of the vaccine to prevent this particular strain of influenza. Discuss your plan for distributing this vaccine. Who receives the vaccine and who does not? How did you come to this conclusion?


The answers should be at least 3 substantive paragraphs, well developed, referenced, and properly formatted. “Substantive” means that the writer has added to the dialogue with referenced facts or pertinent personal experience leading to a reasoned argument that advances the scholarly discussion. Discussion question answers must include at least one reference that is not from the assigned reading.

Reference to appropriate authoritative resources and official websites. Must be accessible online. Use New Times Roman 12 font with 1” margins and APA style.

The required readings & 1 example from other student is attached, but do your original work.

Teaching Points:

Now that we have a good understanding of public health and disaster management, we are going to merge the two topics to better understand how public health interventions can positively effect disasters. We know that public health examines the health of communities or populations so, how can this be translated to disaster management.

Allow me to paint a scenario. There is a significant disaster somewhere in the world. The international community responds rapidly and aggressively sending millions of dollars of aid in the form of rescue workers, supplies, and equipment. The response entities are composed of rescue teams, field hospitals, peacekeeping forces, etc. These response elements complete their respective missions within three to four weeks and then return to their home countries. One of the peacekeeping forces prior to leaving makes the decision to empty waste water containers into a river next to their compound. Shortly after this, Cholera cases begin to develop and rapidly increase causing thousands of indigenous people to become ill and hundreds of deaths. The Cholera outbreak is directly linked to the peacekeeping force disposing of their waste in the river.

Another scenario to ponder, following an earthquake, thousands of indigenous people received elective limb amputations due to untreated and infected open fractures. They were discharged to home after their respective recovery course in the hospital. Unfortunately, most of these people’s homes were destroyed during the earthquake and there was no follow-up care and limited physical rehabilitation.

These described scenarios are two accounts of real-world events that unfolded in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. These incidents alone demonstrate the importance and value of public health measures throughout all phases of a disaster. However, public health is not a significant part of disaster response in the United States and it is my suspicion that it is not very well practiced elsewhere.

Why is incorporating public health measures into disaster response and recovery important? We can lead with another question to help answer this question. Why do we respond to disasters? To save lives, property and the environment and hopefully improve the standard of living after the disaster. Public health measures or interventions can be quite diverse, ranging from dentistry to disease surveillance. Although, it is not realistic to assume that all aspects of public health measures can be accomplished or are needed for every international disaster. However, if we apply public health measures to a disaster, what can be accomplished?

  • Improved preparedness: Researching what if any indigenous disease exist and if available, appropriately vaccinating responders.
  • Surveillance: Establishing surveillance systems for responders and indigenous populations.
  • Recovery: Analyzing collected data and developing processes for managing any identified risks and recovery needs.

Obviously, these are only a few examples of the public health measures that can be applied to humanitarian disasters. Merging public health and emergency management is not a common idea but, with better understanding of the field, it can improve outcomes. The challenge is, especially in the United States, to essentially rethink the decades of response focused disaster management activities and improve the utilization of evidence-based practice in the disaster management field.