A Knowledge, Experiences and Training Needs of Health Professionals about Disaster Preparedness and Response in Southwest Ethiopia cross sectional study

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Negalign Berhanu
Hailay Abrha
Yohannes Ejigu
Kifle Woldemichael


BACKGROUND: Over the past decade, the magnitude and intensity of disasters have been vividly risingglobally due to the forces of nature or man. This study aimed at assessing the perceived knowledge,experiences and training needs of health professionals regarding disasters, their prevention andmanagement in Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia.METHODS: An institution based cross-sectional survey was conducted on 377 health professionalstaken from 9 randomly selected districts out of 18. All health professionals working at health offices,hospitals and health centers were included. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire whichwas developed by the investigators after reviewing the relevant literature in the field. Data were codedand entered into SPSS 20 software for cleaning and analysis. Descriptive and logistic regression analyseswere done.RESULTS: The majority (85.1%) of the participants were able to define the concept of disaster fromvarious perspectives; 9.7% did not know about it at all and 5.2% could describe the concept partially ormisconceived it. The majority (84.3%) agreed that disaster has direct public health consequences onhumans. The main public health consequence of disaster the participants mentioned was environmentalpollution (65.8%). Malaria, measles and diarrhoeal diseases accounted for 35.5%, 33.1% and 10.5% ofthe epidemics, respectively. Only 20.6% of the respondents were trained on disaster related topics in thelast two years.The majority felt that they had poor knowledge on early warning indicators of drought (48.0%) and flood(48.0%). Simialry, 50.8%, 47.7%, 51.1% and 42.6% of the participants had poor knowledge onpreparedness to drought, preparedness to flood, response to drought, response to flood. On compositescale, they generally perceived to have adequate (29.4%), moderate (32.4%) and poor (38.2%) knowledgeabout early warning information bout, preparedness for and response to common disasters. A vastmajority (92.8%) reported that they need training on disaster preparedness, management and response.CONCLUSION: A considerable number of professionals had limited understanding about the concept ofdisaster and response to certain specific disasters. They also had limited opportunities for training,despitetheir felt needs. Therefore, training should be provided focusing on the specific gaps identified.

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Original Article
Author Biographies

Negalign Berhanu, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Department of Health Economics, Policy and Management

Hailay Abrha, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Department of Epidemiology

Yohannes Ejigu, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Department of Health Economics,

Policy and Management

Kifle Woldemichael, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Department of Epidemiology