Research methodology for disaster and medical humanitarian response
Invited conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractPlanning appropriate emergency public health interventions should be evidence-based, needs-based and context-specific (UNHCR 2015). As natural and man-made disasters have significant impacts on humans worldwide, in order to minimise the impacts or provide the most appropriate interventions to help disaster-affected populations, research in disaster and humanitarian settings is necessary. Research helps identify health impacts of disasters and contributing factors.

This presentation aims to introduce current research methodology concepts and processes used by academic researchers or humanitarian aid organisations in disasters and humanitarian settings, and outline the rational and challenges of disaster research. Here three different research methods are introduced: health needs assessment (HNA), health impact assessment (HIA), and impact evaluation (IE). These assessments often use the combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, i.e. mixed research methods, which are commonly used in disaster and humanitarian settings. Qualitative method is exploratory and it is used when there is a lack of understanding of why and how affected populations are impacted by an emergency. Quantitative method is to collecting data in the form of numbers and analysing with mathematically based methods. Mixed methods maximise the strengths and to overcome both methods’ weaknesses by integrating both methods and allow us to capture a holistic picture of the disaster impact on an affected population in these settings.

Health needs assessment (HNA) is a systematic method of identifying the unmet health and healthcare needs of a specific population, and making changes to meet those unmet needs (Wright and Cave 2013). Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a combination of procedures, methods and tools by which a policy, programme or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the health of a population, and the distribution of those effects within the population (WHO 1999). Impact Evaluation (IE) is an assessment to examine the specific changes attributable to a particular intervention after it was implemented by evaluating to what extent the intended outcomes are achieved from the programme (World Bank Group 2011)

The presentation is a brief sharing on the basic steps on designing, implementing research and collecting data to examine health impacts of disasters and conflicts with ethical issues and context. Examples and guidelines are provided for each method to illustrate how it is used in the real setting. These practical research methods could be applied to relevant field and situations. Reports with research findings would be useful in understanding of the situation, environment (work, social, local, global) and guide health intervention practices. (408 words)

References:
UNHCR. 2015. Health Needs Assessment. In UNHCR’s Handbook for Emergencies 4th edition

World Bank Group. 2011. Cited in Gertler P. Impact Evaluation in Practice. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Washington.
Acceptance Date13/01/2018
All Author(s) ListMay PS YEUNG
Name of ConferenceAnnual Conference on Disaster Preparedness and Response 2018
Start Date of Conference13/01/2018
End Date of Conference13/01/2018
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Proceedings TitleDisaster Research Essentials and Knowledge Management
Year2018
Month1
Day13
Place of PublicationHong Kong
Pages27 - 28
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-06-11 at 15:01