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Military participation in humanitarian operations, both in cases of armed conflict and in response to natural disasters, is a common phenomenon in several countries. In Brazil, the Armed Forces have a history in providing humanitarian assistance to victims of emergencies through their field hospitals, such as medical and dental care, laboratory and imaging diagnosis, and pharmaceutical services.
To verify pharmaceutical services preparedness of military units in an institution of Brazilian Armed Forces to disaster response and humanitarian aid.
A transversal study was carried out. The methodological approach was based on a logical model and indicators related to the preparedness of pharmaceutical services. Field research was carried out and good storage practices were investigated in loco. Key stakeholders were interviewed based on an open-ended questionnaire on the preparedness of pharmaceutical services. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed for overall content, according to analytical categories stemming from the literature and indicators prior defined.
Key stakeholders of three military units were interviewed, and official documents and guidelines were also analyzed. Some pronounced shortcomings were identified, such as the lack of a specific budget for medicines management, no surplus of health supplies, lack of appropriate transports, and need of capacity building of health professionals and support team. The existence of a disaster plan, selection of essential medicines for primary reaction, forecasting of medicines, field hospitals as mobile and adaptable health structures, and a system for military mobilization are some of the strengths identified. Two military units are better structured in the management of pharmaceutical service. The third unit still needs to mature its processes to fit the health purposes of its mission.
These findings can subsidize the improvement of pharmaceutical services’ efficiency and quality in means of providing better response in emergency situations supported by the Brazilian Armed Forces.
Disasters are a major challenge for public health because of damage caused by death, injury, or illness that exceeds health services’ ability to respond. Health professionals and students require awareness and understanding of particular aspects of disaster planning, mitigation, response, or recovery. In Brazil, despite the increase in the number and intensity of disasters, there is no formal acceptance regarding the need to integrate disaster content into curriculum guidelines (1)
To develop and test referential and models for disaster management health professional education.
Competence-based education has been proposed. The methodology adopted was developed by the Association (2) and adapted to be used in the Brazilian context. An initial literature search was performed in MEDLINE via PubMed, Google Scholar, Lilacs, and Scielo databases using disaster and competencies as descriptors.
Articles and documents in Portuguese, Spanish, and English were identified for: public health (21), nursing (20), multi-professional (16), psychology (4), pharmacy (4), dentistry (2), medicine (1), veterinary (2), and nutrition (1). Data were organized according to a proposal from the literature (3) Selection of benchmarks for the preparation of education models identified 27 referential, three of them developed in Brazil.
Application and evaluation of the methodology developed with undergraduate students of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul consisted of an initiative to prepare health care professionals for disaster management.
Pharmacists’ participation in health care within multi-disciplinary teams in Humanitarian Assistance (HA) shall be encouraged. Limited literature exists on their role in the humanitarian context. The objective of this paper is to evidence the skill-specific, comprehensive core competencies that pharmacists must demonstrate working in humanitarian interventions.
The literature search laid the groundwork for the development of interview guides and further analysis of the data. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with expatriate pharmacists and medical coordinators, all of whom have worked in the field of HA. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a content analysis methodology.
Three pharmacists and three medical coordinators were interviewed, who had worked in a combined 32 humanitarian missions. The main functions of pharmacists were focused on stock management and supply of medicinal products. However, pharmacists in HA did not perform many functions related to the provision of effective medication therapy management (MTM). A core competency framework for pharmacists working in the humanitarian field was created, which reflects the personal and technical competencies that are essential to work in HA.
Self-management in a pressured and changing environment, the ability to adapt to changing situations, and planning, prioritizing, and performing tasks well under pressure are the skills required for pharmacists and for any other humanitarian health worker. The results highlight great efforts being dedicated to pharmaceutical product supply and management by pharmacists working in HA.
VardanyanH, MoseguiGBG, MirandaES. Skills and Core Competencies of Pharmacists in Humanitarian Assistance. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(3):266–272.
Regardless of the capacity of the health care system of the host nation, mass gatherings require special planning and preparedness efforts within the health system. Brazil will host the 2014 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. This paper represents the first results from Project “Prepara Brasil,” which is investigating the preparedness of the health sector and pharmaceutical services for these events.
This study was designed to identify the efforts engaged in to prepare the health sector in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup 2014 event, as well as the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Key informant interviews were conducted with representatives of both the municipality and hospital sectors in each of the 12 host cities where matches will be played. A semi-structured key informant interview guide was developed, with sections for each type of participant. One of each municipality's reference hospitals was identified and seven additional general hospitals were randomly selected from all of the inpatient facilities in each municipality. The interviewers were instructed to contact a reference hospital, and two of the other hospitals, in the jurisdiction for participation in the study. Questions were asked about plans for mass-gathering events, the interaction between hospitals and government officials in preparation for the World Cup, and their perceptions of their surge capacity to meet the potential demands generated by the presence of the World Cup events in their municipalities.
In all, 11 representatives of the sampled reference hospitals, and 24 representatives of other general private and public hospitals in the municipalities, were interviewed. Most of the hospitals had some interaction with government officials in preparation for the World Cup 2014. Approximately one-third (34%) received training activities from the government. Fifty-four percent (54%) of hospitals had no specific plans for communicating with the government or other agencies during the World Cup. Approximately half (51%) had plans for surge capacity during the event, but only 27% had any surge capacity for isolation of potentially infectious patients.
Overall, although there has been mention of a great deal of planning on the part of the government officials for the World Cup 2014, hospital surge to meet the potential increase in demand still falls short.
ShoafK, Osorio de CastroCGS, MirandaES. Hospital Preparedness in Advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(4):1-4.
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