‎Disaster Risk Management

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    Needs Assessment of Public health Emergency Operations Center for Disasters Preparedness and Response in Nablus Governorate, Palestine
    (جامعة النجاح الوطنية, 2020-09-29) Nassar, Fadi
    Background Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) is necessary for emergencies and disaster response. Emergency operations center used in a variety of emergencies, including natural disasters, food borne disease outbreaks, radio-nuclear events, bio-terrorism, chemical incidents, mass gathering, blackouts, humanitarian emergencies, and disease pandemics. During emergencies, gathering information, decision-making and directing necessary actions require open coordination among all public health institutions applied emergency public health services in case of major incidents. The design process define functional needs, which may vary from place to place but commonly include – Coordination, Policymaking, Operations management, information management, Logistics management and Planning. In Palestine, there is a lack of harmonization between different sectors in this regard. We aimed to assess the preparedness and response to disasters, and the challenges to establish PHEOC. We also aimed to evaluate public health emergency operations and management plan in Nablus district institutions. Materials and methods A cross sectional quantitative study design was conducted..Twelve institutes were included, 3 of them refused to participate. The participated institutes were: 1) Director General of Public Health at Palestinian MOH; 2) General Administration of Ambulance and Emergency of the Palestinian MOH; 3) Palestinian Civil Defense; 4) Palestinian Health Action Committees; 5) Palestinian Medical Relief; 5) Palestinian Red Crescent Society; 7) Palestinian Red Cross Society; 8) Nablus Municipality; 9) Palestinian Military Medical Services; 10) Center for Disaster Risk Reduction and Urban Planning at An-Najah National University; 11) Palestinian Union of Health Care Committees; and 12) Nablus Metropolitan. The researcher also involved the private sector hospitals at Nablus City for collecting the quantitative data to conduct this study, which were: An-Najh National University Hospital, AL-Arbi Specialized Hospital, Nablus Specialized Hospital, AL-Ittihad Women Union Hospital and Arab Evangelical Hospital. The study was conducted at Nablus governorate. A permission to conduct the study in all previous institutions was obtained. Explanatory letters for all participants were attached to each questionnaire which explains the aim, importance, confidentiality and anonymity of the information with optional participation (voluntary). Written and signed informed consent was obtained from each institution. Chi Square Test was used for analysis. Results Approximately forty six participants agreed and participated in the survey instrument with response rate (88.5%) from three organizations (governmental, non-governmental, and private sectors). The main findings were that preparedness and response to disasters, and the challenges to establishing PHEOC and the evaluations of public health emergency operations and management plan, among the Nablus district institutions, were found in moderate levels. Around two third of this study participants agreed that the organization engages in planning activity prior to developing its Emergency Operations Plan. Also, they reported that the organization has an Emergency Operations Plan, about 29 (63%) agree that the organization prepares for how it will manage resources and assets during emergencies, around two third (82.6%) of the current research participants agreed that the organization prepares for how it will communicate during emergencies, nearly half of the present study participants agreed that the organization should be prepares for how it will manage security and safety during an emergency, during disasters above half 28 (60.9%) of the participants agreed with the statement of organization may grant disaster privileges to volunteer licensed independent practitioners, while only 15 (32.6%) of them agree with the organization may grant disaster privileges to volunteer practitioners who are not licensed independent practitioners, more half of participants agreed that the challenges facing emergency preparedness referred to lack in experience, training and exercise support, approximately, 33 (71.7%) agree that these challenges referred to Tools and resources to develop disaster response operations while only 4 (8.7%) disagree this challenge more than one third of them agreed that there were more challenges referred. About half of participant 24 (52.2%) was agree with challenge referred to Lack of coordination at national level intra-organizations that work in disasters response while 8 (17.4%) were disagree with this challenge. Approximately, half of the participants 23 (50.0%) reported yes that organization evaluates the effectiveness of its emergency management operations activities, resources and logistics supplies, coordination, communications, security and safety measures, Roles and Responsibilities for all staff members. Also, more than half of the participants 27 (58.7%) reported yes that the organization evaluates the effectiveness of its Emergency Management Plan if the goals have been met and if need for change or not according to feedback from filed operations. Conclusion Most of the organizations engaged in planning activities prior to developing its emergency operation plan and has an emergency operations plan and prepares for how it will manage resources and assets during emergencies, how it will communicate during emergencies, how it will manage security and safety during an emergency. Challenges facing emergency preparedness, referred to lack in their experience, training and exercise support, funding, laws and roles and challenges due to lack of coordination at national level and intra-organizations that work in disasters response. Evaluation of emergency operations and management plan and lesson learned from previous disasters still need regulation and analysis in order to perform the preparedness and response for further disasters or major public health events