Drivers of risk and rapid risk assessment for communicable diseases in complex and traditional humanitarian emergencies

Hammer, Charlotte (2019) Drivers of risk and rapid risk assessment for communicable diseases in complex and traditional humanitarian emergencies. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Background: Humanitarian emergencies pose significant risks for human health, especially regarding disease outbreaks. This projects unpacks the risk of outbreaks in humanitarian settings. It seeks to understand and identify outbreak risks and vulnerabilities in humanitarian emergencies, including risk factor cascades and interactions. The main aim of the project is the development of a rapid risk assessment tool for disease outbreaks in humanitarian emergencies that can be used by aid workers with no or limited health protection experience to accurately assess communicable disease risks in humanitarian emergencies.

Methods: This is a mixed-methods study with multiple stages. The first stage was the development of a theoretical model and a qualitative systematic review on communicable disease risk factors in complex emergencies. This was followed with stakeholder-level analysis in the form of a three-stage expert elicitation process on risk factors, thresholds and weights. Finally, the development of a rapid risk assessment tool based on the preliminary results was completed by validation (key-informant interviews) and inter-rater reliability testing.

Results: While humanitarian emergencies differ depending on their type and setting, the key risk factors they pose for disease outbreaks are similar: the main concerns include access to clean water, health care and contextual issues such as humanitarian access and ongoing conflict, some of which can trigger risk factor cascades. Hence, reliable and accessible rapid risk assessment is pivotal. The developed tool is suitable for use by non-expert humanitarian aid workers.

Conclusion: One of the main concerns for disease outbreak risk in humanitarian and disaster settings is that issues such as population displacement trigger risk factor cascades that further compound the disease risk and humanitarian situation. However, aid workers without prior health protection expertise can successfully conduct a rapid risk assessment for disease outbreak risk if they are equipped with a suitable tool.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Users 9280 not found.
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2019 13:02
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2020 00:38


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