Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Aids doesnt discriminate, why should you?

Since, its world's AIDS day and its already 2 am in the morning, i am not going to write about HIV/AIDS or anything. I am just going to put some pictures. Just see it, and hope it helps in creating an awareness among all of us. :) Let the pictures speak for themselves.


As the title suggests, this is going to be a disastrous post. What i mean by that is that its going to be a post about disaster. :P Anyway, as usual lets start with the defining the word. Disaster in my understanding is when an event occurs causing disturbance of daily activities, loss of lives and et cetera where external help is needed for recovery of the situation. Now, lets look at the WHO definition of disaster :

A "disaster" is defined as an occurrence where normal conditions of 
existence are disrupted and the level of suffering exceeds the capacity 
of the hazard-affected community to respond to it.

Now, lets look at what are the process for a disaster to happen and what are the terms related to disaster. For that, lets look at the following diagram :

WHO defines hazard as :

 A "hazard" is any phenomenon that has the potential to cause disruption or 
damage to the community, e.g. earthquake, flood, typhoon, and cyclone. 
Some hazards may cause emergencies; not all become disasters.

Now that we know the meaning of the word disaster and hazard. Let us look at the next term, event. Event is the realization of hazard. For instance rain may be considered to be a hazard whereas the event will be flood. Impact is when the event has contact with people and impact leads to damage. Damage may include human loss, loss of infrastructure and et cetera. However, if you realise, in the definition of hazard by WHO it is mentioned that not all hazards develop into disaster. Referring to the flow chart above that ends at damage, disaster occurs when the damage cannot be handled and external aids are needed for recovery. If external help is not needed, it doesnt become a disaster, it just stays as an event. This is a very important concept to grasp especially for the prevention of disaster.

Indonesia is a country prone to a lot of disasters. It is a meeting place of two tectonic plates, this makes it prone to earthquakes. It is also located in the pacific ring of fire, prone to tsunami, flood and etc. These are the natural disaster Indonesia is prone to. There are many other man-made disasters that may affect this country and as a matter of fact any other country. 

tectonic plates :

ring of fire :

other man made disasters that may happen ANYWHERE in the world 

bomb blasts :

war : 

So now we know the we are all vulnerable to disaster one way or another be it natural or man-made disaster. Now lets see the cycles of disaster management. What happens when there is a disaster besides chaos. 

The goal of disaster management is to reduce or avoid losses from hazards, to assure prompt assistance to the victims and to achieve rapid and effective recovery. Besides that, disaster management is also done to prevent another disaster from happening and to prepare for emergencies. 

Now i will give a brief explanation about the phases of the disaster management.

First phase : Response
- Its aim is to provide immediate assistance to ensure that the health is maintained and improved. Besides that the assistance is also to support the morale of the victims.
- It focuses on the basics necessity of people such as food, water, medicines, shelter and etc.
- Humanitarian organizations are most active in this phase of disaster management.

Second phase : Recovery
- It occurs as the emergency response is being brought to control.
- It is concentrated more on restoring their daily lives, activities and also the infrastructure that supports them. Its basically to bring the community back to normal.
- This phase goes on for a long time till all systems return to normal or for the better. 

Third phase : Mitigation
- It is done to eliminate or to decrease the probability of disaster and to minimize effects of unavoidable disaster.
- For example, to have building codes (earthquake proof infrastructures) and public education (on what to do during an event).

Fourth phase : Preparedness
- It is done to achieve a certain level of satisfactory readiness to respond to an emergency situation. This also includes logistic readiness to deal with an event or disaster.
- In this phase, plans are derived to save lives, reduce damage and enhance disaster response operations.

There are many more terms and ways of disaster management, which i do not wish to discuss here. Because my main objective of this block is to give a main idea and to present the concept of health system and disaster in a brief, summarized and interesting way and not to go into the details. However i would like to share a small story that i heard from my tutor during tutorials. The story touched my heart, hope it reaches out to you as well. This is how it goes.

My tutor, who is a practicing doctor, stays in Bantul and has a private practice there in Bantul. When Bantul was hit by an earthquake with RS 6.2 on 27th May 2006. There was chaos everywhere because everyone anticipated a volcanic eruption, but there was an earthquake. No one was prepared for it. My tutor left her home, for her home was affected by it as well. She left home piggybacking her 4 year old child. However, as she was leaving, she thought about her private practice place and thought there might be victims requiring her help there. She went over to her private practice, and just as she predicted, there were people who need help there. She started to help around and amazingly the people there co-operated well with her volunteering to help. A few ladies actually came up to her and said " Ibu saya perawat, saya bisa bantu, apa yang doc mau saya lakukan " ( doctor, i am a nurse, i can help, what do you want me to do dr?) My tutor was moved with the willingness of the people. It would have been for them to indulge in self pity for they are the victims themselves. During the recovery phase, the people of Bantul worked together to build back their lives with all the resources they have not wasting any part of it. My tutor mentioned that, the people actually looked through the ruins to segregate the bricks and other things that still can be used with the ones that cant be used anymore. They used the usable ones plus new ones to build houses. And everyone build the town together. I was moved by their spirit of togetherness and willingness

My purpose of telling this story is to make us realise that each and everyone of us can make a difference in managing disaster. We can make it easier. We just have to be ready and willing to help with all we can and offer our services to the right channel. :) 

p/s : i found this interesting website that updates with disasters around the world. Feel free to visit the website. Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

1. Lecture Note - Conceptual Framework of Disaster and Disaster Management, dr.Hendro Wartatmo Sp.B-KBD
2. Lecture Note - Preparedness, Response and Recovery, dr.Belladona, M.Kes
4. The Disaster Management Cycle -
5. Expert Opinion (Tutor of tutorial group - i would not mention her name for confidentiality purposes)