Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guide for environmental health in disasters

The World Health Organization provide a very useful book free online: "Environmental health in emergencies and disasters: a practical guide" (B. Wisner and J. Adams, 2003 ISBN 92 4 154541 0 272 pages). Chapter 11 covers Control of communicable diseases and prevention of epidemics. The Sahana open source disaster software is being expanded to support disease surveillance and also for use in disease related emergencies, such as bird flu, where Public-health surveillance is important to detecting and dealing with the emergency:
Public-health surveillance is the collection, analysis and dissemination of health information to enable appropriate action to be taken. This is particularly important in disasters and emergencies because of the particular vulnerability of the affected population, the sudden changes that can occur in health due to the unstable nature of the situation,
and the need to share quantitative data rapidly with a range of partners to enable rapid and effective action to be taken (Médecins Sans Frontières, 1997a).

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