Experience of this system

The analysis of the initial, acute response with the system established in Aceh Province showed that, despite the need to establish emergency needs for over 500,000 displaced persons, there were no large outbreaks of communicable diseases (Ekdahl, 2005). There was a limited number of cases attributed to water-borne diseases, including cholera, shigellosis, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, and hepatitis E; some vector-borne diseases, including malaria and dengue; and conditions attributed to overcrowding, including URIs, influenza, and meningitis. Nevertheless, no major outbreaks were reported. The reasons for this are thought to be as follows:

1. Some have opined that communicable diseases are actually more uncommon following natural disasters than conventional wisdom would suggest.

2. The population served was well versed in the importance of hand-washing and of boiling drinking water prior to consumption. Also, this population was generally healthy, with relatively low levels of malnutrition and infant mortality.

3. The EWARN system was highly effective in rapid response to possible outbreaks.

4. There was an outbreak of measles which was somewhat expected due to low vaccine coverage prior to the event, but the outbreak was limited as a result of a rapid vaccination strategy.

Despite what appears to be a highly successful program, there were some concerns about the EWARN system, which included:

1. Inconsistent reporting by some agencies

2. Difficulty in obtaining denominator data due to the high mobility of displaced persons

3. Difficulty in reaching rural areas

4. Duplicate reporting due to health care at multiple sites.

Despite these problems, many concluded that the data generated by the EWARN system were actually more accurate than the health data obtained for the general population prior to the event, and the current plan is to integrate the EWARN system (including its data management component) within the routine surveillance used in this area prior to the tsunami. This would include monitoring for outbreaks of typhoid fever, hepatitis, cholera, measles, malaria, dengue, and shigellosis.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Remember to prepare for everyone in the home. When you are putting together a plan to prepare in the case of an emergency, it is very important to remember to plan for not only yourself and your children, but also for your family pets and any guests who could potentially be with you at the time of the emergency.

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