Response to the health and nutrition needs of people affected by drought emergency in Southeast Ethiopia
AbstractBackground: Without well organized preparedness, early warning system and response, the consequence of drought would be catastrophic. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the preparedness and response of different sectors for health and nutrition needs of people affected by drought in Southeast Ethiopia. Methods: This assessment was conducted from August 14 to September 7, 2006 in Borena, Afder and Liben zones in the Southeast Ethiopia. Interview with representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, record review, and focus group discussion with community leaders were done to assess the health and nutrition related responses of the different stakeholders. Results: Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Commissions (DPPC) at district level did not have documented contingency planning, vulnerability assessment and risk mapping and zoning related to drought emergency. Most of the districts’ health offices had no adequate human resources to respond to drought emergency. The surveillance system was not functional in all Districts. Eighty percent of the health institutions did not conduct nutritional survey or screening. None of the health facilities had temporary or therapeutic feeding centres. Most of the focus group discussants mentioned that the food and non-food aid was not timely and adequate.
Conclusions: Absence of infrastructure, lack of human resources, absence of functional surveillance system, and weakness of DPPC offices were the serious bottlenecks which affected the health and nutrition related response of the drought emergency.