discuss how the organizations selected responded to the disasters

When responding to your peers, discuss how the organizations selected responded to the disasters. How do you think they could have improved their responses? For example, what organizations should have responded but did not, and how do you think the United States would have handled the disasters?

Post # 1

“Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on October 4, 2016, as a Category 4 hurricane. The combined effects of wind, coastal flooding and rain caused heavy flooding, landslides, and the destruction of a great deal of infrastructure, agricultural crops and natural ecosystems. In all, 546 people were killed, more than 175,500 people sought refuge in shelters, and about 1.4 million people required immediate humanitarian assistance.(n.d.).” Outside of the devastating destruction of the hurricane, the aftermath exacerbated the spread of cholera. Polluted water, sewage over flow, and the population relocated to living in close proximity contributed to the rapid spread of cholera. If left untreated cholera can be deadly. Proper sewage disposal and clean water is the best method to prevent the spread of this disease.

Roughly, 14,000 cases of cholera were reported after hurricane Matthew. The International Medical Corps provided aid in the treatment of cholera. “We also supported Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population’s (MSPP) oral cholera vaccination campaign, through which approximately 729,000 people were vaccinated. We provided operational support for the campaign, including payment and logistics for vaccinators, monitoring and evaluation capacity. In addition, we are operating seven mobile medical units focused on reaching remote and isolated communities, traveling by foot, canoe, and any means necessary to deliver health care and vital relief supplies.In addition to our Emergency Response Team’s Hurricane Matthew activities, our Haiti Country Team continues to implement ongoing health, nutrition, and WASH programs in Nord, Nord-este, Artibonite, and Ouest departments.(IMC, 2017).”

Other organization such as the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Military, the PanAmerican Health Organization, and the Center for Disease Control, sent medical supplies, clear water, and monetary funds to contributed to rebuilding the country. The United European Nations sent similar resources. All of the above organizations responses were appropriate. Sending medical supplies and medical professionals to aid in protecting the population of Haiti was effective in slowing the infection rates. The loss of hospitals were offset by the monetary and military support deployed. Four years later Haiti is still rebuilding from this devastating disaster.

Rapidly Assessing the Impact of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2017/10/20/rapidly-assessing-the-impact-of-hurricane-matthew-in-haiti

Hurricane Matthew Haiti. (2017, July 27). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/emergency-response/hurricane-matthew-haiti/

Post # 2

The 2014 incident of West Africa’s Ebola epidemic prompted the global public health community to engage in hard self-reflection. The Ebola outbreaks in the Republic of the Congo was globally one of a kind. The Ebola epidemic hit West Africa hard, showing the weaknesses in international institutions and governments in responding to incidents like that. United States played a major role in helping to control the outbreak, providing financial assistance and mobilizing large number of U.S. staff from different departments and agencies. This outbreak started global efforts to build worldwide health security. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the most important leader in every response to a global public health emergency or any disease outbreak (Josh Michaud Follow @joshmich on Twitter and Jennifer Kates Follow @jenkatesdc on Twitter Published: Aug 14 & 2018, 2018). In response to the epidemic, social disruption threatened local, national, and international economies, food security and social structures. The Ebola Response Roadmap was launched in order to prevent international spread by prohibiting travel of all cases or contacts and exit screenings were conducted at airports, seaports, and borders (Scott, Crawford-Browne, & Sanders, 2016).

The World Health Organization is appointed as the principal international organization for overseeing global public health emergency’s and disease outbreaks. The organization represents the coordinating body for answering and providing technical assistance, expertise, and other material provisions in supporting the cause.  According to Michaud and Kates (2018), looking back the Ebola incident, The World Health Organization was said to be slow and ineffective in its early response and handling of the emerging outbreak. Some contributing factors mentioned were; “outbreak budget response that was reduced by 50% in two years, corresponding loss of staff with relevant experience; little funding available on a short term basis to support the cost of an unexpected, major response operation; a bureaucratic structure that made rapid coordination and decision making difficult and leadership vacuum that caused delays in coordinating and directing resources, people and organizations where and when they were needed”.

“Public health emergencies are defined as much by their health consequences as by their causes and precipitating events. A situation becomes emergent when its health consequences have the potential to overwhelm routine community capabilities to address them.” (Nelson, Lurie, Wasserman, & Zakowski, 2007) In this definition, certain situations are the focus “whose scale, timing, or unpredictability threatens to overwhelm routine capabilities.”  (Nelson, Lurie, Wasserman, & Zakowski, 2007) It includes the hazard techniques for preparedness as an alternative instead of focusing on the immediate disaster.

Certain requirements are needed in public health emergency preparedness, such as; prevention, mitigation, and recovery activities, and everyone responsible for responding to these incidents. In operational capabilities, the ability to respond and carry out preparedness duties quickly and efficiently is key. Involved are the infrastructure, the personnel, plans etc. Public health emergency preparedness is constantly evolving. The need for improvements along with frequent examination of plans through simulation and execution of corrective actions. Application of health enhancement and building of strong communities should also be incorporated in public health emergency preparedness.

Government agencies are not the only ones involved or responsible for the nation’s preparedness. There are others such as occupied and organized community residents, businesses, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations. In any emergency, sharing of first aid, search-and-rescue, and other first response activities are provided by on-site-civilians before the arrival of emergency response personnel. Serious coordination is involved in every public health emergency preparedness. Immense efforts, awareness, and training are needed for everyone involved so the system works as intended.


Josh Michaud Follow @joshmich on Twitter and Jennifer Kates Follow @jenkatesdc on Twitter Published: Aug 14, 2., & 2018, M. (2018, November 13). The Latest Ebola Outbreaks: What Has Changed in the International and U.S. Response Since 2014? Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/issue-brief/the-latest-ebola-outbreak-what-has-changed-in-the-international-and-u-s-response-since-2014/

Nelson, C., Lurie, N., Wasserman, J., & Zakowski, S. (2007, April). Conceptualizing and defining public health emergency preparedness. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1854988/

Scott, V., Crawford-Browne, S., & Sanders, D. (2016, May 17). Critiquing the response to the Ebola epidemic through a Primary Health Care Approach. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4869325/