“Pick your poison”
Vaccinations in Darfur
This is a poignant piece from the radio show “Snap Judgment” on NPR about humanitarian health & assistance. James Shepherd Barron describes his experience in trying to provide polio vaccines in North Darfur, Sudan.
Snap Judgement- Crossing Borders
Conflict and war poses increasingly complicated scenarios for healthcare providers. This is an example of an implementation obstacle where health interventions (and the people who seek to provide them) are not always perceived as neutral.
War and fragile governing systems create a forceful undertow to people’s lives. And translating public health guidelines into practice in these settings can be very difficult. Split decisions can directly affect how health interventions actually get implemented. There are manuals and books that provide guidance on how to approach immunizations and vaccinations in crisis.Medecins San Frontiers- Refugee Health book
“Measles vaccination is one of the highest priorities in the acute phase of an emergency if vaccine coverage rates in the affected population are below 90%. The main objective of a measles vaccination programme is to prevent an outbreak of measles with the high mortality rates often associated with this disease in emergency situations” – WHO- Communicable Disease Control in Emergencies.
But is there a book or even a blogsite that shares a repository of experiences like the one in “Snap Judgement”? where humanitarians can learn from these increasingly difficult environments?
Vaccination programs do not always play themselves out like the 3 min snap judgement episode but it opens one window to understanding some of the very important non-clinical challenges of providing life saving interventions in complex humanitarian crisis.