"Concepts of the Public Health" is a perfect example of a paper on the health system. The role of public health professionals in the Somali War There is a continual rise in the number of disasters and issues affecting the larger human society. Some of these disasters are complex humanitarian emergencies and this calls for the cooperation between various organizations and national departments for example the military, public health, social services among others. The term complex humanitarian emergency refers to a disaster or a situation that affects a large civilian population through a combination of international war, civil war, or a gross attempt to restructure the society or the state. The war in Somali is one of the current complex humanitarian emergencies. This war started in 2006 and since then, it has seen the death and displacement of many people. A report released by the Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization indicates that by December 2008, 16,120 civilians had been killed and 29,000 wounded. In 2007, displacements from the town of Mogadishu alone amounted to 1.9 million (International Herald Tribune 16).
Most of the people displaced have ended up in Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya while others have ended up in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Yemen. Public health professionals have to respond to the situation in the refugee camps in neighboring countries. The Daabab refugee camps in Kenya were originally designed to accommodate 90, 000 people but the current population in these camps has greatly exceeded this number leading to great human congestion.
This congestion in turn exposes the refugees to security threats as well as health hazards. These include high risks of the spread of contagious diseases and the outbreak of hygiene-related diseases like cholera. In some of the cases, about 300 people share one toilet (Kamau 1). Brennan and Robin (148) explain that in such situations, the role of public health professionals is to undertake appropriate health interventions aimed at disease prevention and the promotion of health. These interventions aimed at disease prevention should encompass those that preventing outbreaks as well as those that prevent the spread of contagious diseases. These professionals can achieve this either by offering direct services to the people, for example, conducting regular immunization programs against contagious diseases like polio and Hepatitis B, and treating sick patients. Few toilets encourage careless human defecation hence the public health professionals should increase the number of toilets.
This will reduce the risk of disease outbreaks. Hand wash taps should be constructed next to these toilets to encourage hygiene and where possible, hand wash sops should be provided. Gillam (121) advises that public health professionals should also carry out medical screening persons coming into the camps to reduce the possibilities of the spread of contagious diseases.
All sick persons should be referred to the available health facilities. They should also ensure the refugees get safe drinking water. Health professionals should also educate the people on primary health care tips for example hygiene. The public health professionals have to work with the government and the refugees to ensure that drainages are created where possible to reduce flooding of the amps during the rainy seasons. Such flooding greatly increases the risk of the outbreak of water-borne diseases. A complex humanitarian emergency results in large-scale displacement of human populations or even massive deaths, for example during genocides. At such times, living conditions deteriorate hence the people live under conditions of poor supply of safe drinking water and food, poor sanitation, and shelter.
This makes complex humanitarian emergencies a big global health challenge. The public health professionals, therefore, have critical roles to play in case of a complex humanitarian emergency given its potential to cause a significant increase in the mortality rates.
Brennan Richard and Robin Nandy . “Complex humanitarian emergencies: a major global health challenge.” Emerg Med (Fremantle). (2) pp 147-156. 2001.
Gillam Stephen, Yates Jan and Badrinath Padmanabhan. Essential Public Health. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 2007.
International Herald Tribune (2009). “Somalia conflict kills more than 2,100 this year.” Online: http://www.nytimes.com/marketing/iht/search/?iht. Retrieved on 20th July, 2011.
Kamau Rose (2011). “SOMALIA: UN agencies express concern over living conditions in Kenya refugee camps.” Online: http://warvictims.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/somalia-un-agencies-express-concern-over-living-conditions-in-kenya-refugee-camps/. Retrieved on 20th July, 2011.