The changing health priorities of earthquake response and implications for preparedness: a scoping review.


OBJECTIVES Earthquakes have substantial impacts on mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The academic evidence base to support Disaster Risk Reduction activities in LMIC settings is, however, limited. We sought to address this gap by identifying the health and healthcare impacts of earthquakes in LMICs and to identify the implications of these findings for future earthquake preparedness. STUDY DESIGN Scoping review. METHODS A scoping review was undertaken with systematic searches of indexed databases to identify relevant literature. Key study details, findings, recommendations or lessons learnt were extracted and analysed across individual earthquake events. Findings were categorised by time frame relative to earthquakes and linked to the disaster preparedness cycle, enabling a profile of health and healthcare impacts and implications for future preparedness to be established. RESULTS Health services need to prepare for changing health priorities with a shift from initial treatment of earthquake-related injuries to more general health needs occurring within the first few weeks. Preparedness is required to address mental health and rehabilitation needs in the medium to longer term. Inequalities of the impact of earthquakes on health were noted in particular for women, children, the elderly, disabled and rural communities. The need to maintain access to essential services such as reproductive health and preventative health services were identified. Key preparedness actions include identification of appropriate leaders, planning and training of staff. Testing of plans was advocated within the literature with evidence that this is possible in LMIC settings. CONCLUSIONS Whilst there are a range of health and healthcare impacts of earthquakes, common themes emerged in different settings and from different earthquake events. Preparedness of healthcare systems is essential and possible, in order to mitigate the adverse health impacts of earthquakes in LMIC settings. Preparedness is needed at the community, organisational and system levels.

DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2017.04.024

Cite this paper

@article{Cartwright2017TheCH, title={The changing health priorities of earthquake response and implications for preparedness: a scoping review.}, author={Congressman Cartwright and Meghan A. Hall and Andrew C K Lee}, journal={Public health}, year={2017}, volume={150}, pages={60-70} }