• Addressing psychosocial needs in the aftermath of the tsunami.

      de Jong, K; Prosser, S; Ford, N; Kaz.de.Jong@amsterdam.msf.org (2005-06)
    • Brief mental health interventions in conflict and emergency settings: an overview of four Medecins Sans Frontieres -- France programs

      Coldiron, M E; Llosa, A E; Roederer, T; Casas, G; Moro, M-R (BioMed Central, 2013-11-01)
      Mental health problems, particularly anxiety and mood disorders, are prevalent in the setting of humanitarian emergencies, both natural and man-made disasters. Evidence regarding best strategies for therapeutic interventions is sparse. Medecins Sans Frontieres has been providing mental health services during emergencies for over two decades, and here we compare data from four programs.Program Overview: In China, 564 patients were followed for an average of 7 sessions after a major earthquake. The most common diagnoses were PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Between program entry and exit, the median global assessment of functioning increased from 65 to 80. At program entry, 58% were considered moderately, markedly or severely ill; a proportion which fell to 14% at program exit. In Colombia in the setting of chronic violence, 2411 patients were followed for a median of two sessions. Anxiety disorders and major depression were the most common diagnoses, and 76% of patients were moderately or severely ill at program entry. 91% had symptomatic improvement at program exit. In Gaza, 1357 patients were followed for a median of 9 sessions; a majority was under age 15. PTSD and other anxiety disorders were the most common diagnoses, and 91% were moderately or severely ill at entry. 89% had improved symptoms at program exit. In the West Bank, the 1478 patients had similar characteristics to those enrolled in Gaza. 88% were moderately or severely ill at entry; 88% had improved at exit.Discussion and evaluation: It was feasible to implement brief yet effective mental health interventions in a wide variety of humanitarian contexts -- post-natural disaster, during acute violent conflict and during chronic violent conflict. The most common diagnoses were PTSD, other anxiety disorders and mood disorders. The use of local specially-trained counselors who were focused on coping skills and improving functionality over a brief time period, likely contributed to the symptomatic improvement seen in a large majority of patients across the four sites.
    • Chaos in Afghanistan: famine, aid, and bombs.

      Ford, N; Davis, A; Médecins Sans Frontières, 124-32 Clerkenwell Road, EC1R 5DJ, London, UK. Nathan_FORD@msf.org (Elsevier, 2001-11-03)
    • Ethics and images of suffering bodies in humanitarian medicine

      Calain, P; Unité de Recherche sur les Enjeux et Pratiques Humanitaires (UREPH), Médecins Sans Frontières - Switzerland, Rue de Lausanne 78, CH-1211 Genève 21, Switzerland. Electronic address: philippe_calain@hotmail.com. (Elsevier, 2012-07-27)
      Media representations of suffering bodies from medical humanitarian organisations raise ethical questions, which deserve critical attention for at least three reasons. Firstly, there is a normative vacuum at the intersection of medical ethics, humanitarian ethics and the ethics of photojournalism. Secondly, the perpetuation of stereotypes of illness, famine or disasters, and their political derivations are a source of moral criticism, to which humanitarian medicine is not immune. Thirdly, accidental encounters between members of the health professions and members of the press in the humanitarian arena can result in misunderstandings and moral tension. From an ethics perspective the problem can be specified and better understood through two successive stages of reasoning. Firstly, by applying criteria of medical ethics to the concrete example of an advertising poster from a medical humanitarian organisation, I observe that media representations of suffering bodies would generally not meet ethical standards commonly applied in medical practice. Secondly, I try to identify what overriding humanitarian imperatives could outweigh such reservations. The possibility of action and the expression of moral outrage are two relevant humanitarian values which can further be spelt out through a semantic analysis of 'témoignage' (testimony). While the exact balance between the opposing sets of considerations (medical ethics and humanitarian perspectives) is difficult to appraise, awareness of all values at stake is an important initial standpoint for ethical deliberations of media representations of suffering bodies. Future pragmatic approaches to the issue should include: exploring ethical values endorsed by photojournalism, questioning current social norms about the display of suffering, collecting empirical data from past or potential victims of disasters in diverse cultural settings, and developing new canons with more creative or less problematic representations of suffering bodies than the currently accepted stereotypes.
    • Meeting the health needs of migrant workers affected by the tsunami.

      Wilson, D; Médecins Sans Frontières, Bangkok, Thailand. msfb-bangkok@brussels.msf.org (Public Library of Science, 2005-06)
    • Mental Health Status of Vulnerable Tsunami-Affected Communities: A Survey in Aceh Province, Indonesia.

      Souza, R; Bernatsky, S; Reyes, R; de Jong, K; Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (2007-06)
      The authors determined the prevalence of severe emotional distress and depressive symptoms using the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25 (HSCL; Derogatis, Lipman, Rickels, Uhlenhuth, & Covi, 1974) in tsunami-affected communities that had experienced armed conflict arising from the ongoing independence movement in Aceh Province, Indonesia. We also evaluated determinants of severe emotional distress. The data were collected for the purposes of a mental health assessment. In our sample (N = 262), 83.6% demonstrated severe emotional distress, and 77.1% demonstrated depressive symptoms. In multivariate regression models, severe emotional distress was positively associated with the number of tsunami-related deaths among household members. Our data suggests a need for effective interventions in this vulnerable population.
    • Not a drop to drink in the Aral Sea.

      Small, I; Falzon, D; van der Meer, J; Ford, N; Upshur, R (2001-11-10)
    • Optimal evidence in difficult settings: improving health interventions and decision making in disasters

      Gerdin, M; Clarke, M; Allen, C; Kayabu, B; Summerskill, W; Devane, D; Maclachlan, M; Spiegel, P; Ghosh, A; Zachariah, R; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2014-04)
      Martin Gerdin and colleagues argue that disaster health interventions and decision-making can benefit from an evidence-based approach Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
    • Safe Water for the Aral Sea Area: Could it get Any Worse?

      Small, I; Falzon, D; van der Meer, J; Ford, N; Médecins Sans Frontières, Aral Sea Programme, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. (Published by Oxford University Press, 2003-03)
      The environmental adversities around the Aral Sea in Central Asia have been the subject of recent research. Attempts at sustainable provision of palatable drinking water in low chemical and microbial contaminants for the 4 million people in the two countries around the Aral littoral have been largely unsuccessful. In the last few years, severe drought has further depleted the amount of available water. This shortage has negatively impacted on agriculture, and accentuated the out migration of people. An appeal is made to assist the local population in this arid area to cope with the acute and chronic deterioration of water security.