Public health and complex emergencies: New issues, new conditions
American Journal of Public Health
Public health practice in complex emergencies has become increasingly sophisticated and well informed over the course of the past quarter century. Humanitarian relief organizations have learned many lessons in the areas of food, water and sanitation, shelter, and primary health. However, closer scrutiny from the media and funding agencies, together with changing conditions and an increasingly insecure environment, will require that changes be made. First and foremost, nongovernmental organizations must recognize that an increasing proportion of morbidity and mortality is the consequence of widespread human rights abuses. These organizations should become more familiar with international human rights and humanitarian law, and their personnel should receive clear guidance as to how to recognize and report violations. At the same time, nongovernmental organizations will have to work more closely with military forces that have a very different organizational culture. In addition, as emergencies become more complex, nongovernmental organizations should do more to attract and retain seasoned professionals. Finally, advances in both technical and operational areas will occur only through carefully designed and implemented research.
Waldman, R., & Martone, G. (1999). Public health and complex emergencies: New issues, new conditions. American Journal of Public Health, 89 (10). http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.89.10.1483