Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Humanitarian Assistance Often Lacks Needs Assessment

Date:
November 10, 2007
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
New research shows that international assistance is often sent to disaster areas without any prior needs assessment having been made of the affected population. One young scientist discovered a lack of understanding of people's needs subsequent to the disaster, as well as an inadequate account of existing resources.

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.

Related Articles


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 of this thesis will be taking place on 23 November 2007 at Karolinska Institutet Campus Solna, Stockholm.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Humanitarian Assistance Often Lacks Needs Assessment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109101759.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2007, November 10). Humanitarian Assistance Often Lacks Needs Assessment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109101759.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Humanitarian Assistance Often Lacks Needs Assessment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109101759.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins