Public crises: Be prepared
Human crises both worldwide and close to home present a constant need for critical support by aid workers, medical staff and others headed to the scene to assist. Because of this, it is crucial that people are adequately prepared and educated to provide effective, efficient care for those in need.
Sarah Kesler, M.D., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, notes the great need for medical and public health professionals to be prepared to treat a wide variety of patient conditions, as well as be ready to manage the overall health of a population. Furthermore, the community as a whole may need assistance in maintaining and rebuilding infrastructure, and aid workers must know how to manage many different variables with few available resources.
A prevalent issue arising in human crisis situations is “simple” sicknesses turning into life threatening illnesses because of living conditions, social concerns, or crisis aftermath.
“People should not be dying from diarrhea or respiratory infections,” says Kesler. “But when people are facing issues such as contaminated water supply, poor vaccination coverage, lack of shelter, and malnutrition, you can better understand why these minor illnesses are posing such a threat.”
Kesler is leading a humanitarian crisis simulation in September. Through the course, which replicates a realistic two-country scenario in Cannon Falls, participants will receive a crash course in what it takes to manage a humanitarian crisis, as well as what it might be like to experience life as an aid worker or refugee. By the end of the three-day clinic, participants will leave with skills that are applicable across many backgrounds, and which they will continue to encounter in diverse situations
“In order to treat patients who are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, you must have an understanding of the many factors that are influencing their overall health” Kesler emphasizes.