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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UNC: When It Comes to Crisis Response, Low-income Countries Need a Defined Standard of Care

In a recent commentary, faculty from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health call for more urgency in the delivery of quality care to countries experiencing extreme adversity, documenting ongoing crises in Iraq and the devastating impact they have had on human health in the region.

Dr. Dilshad Jaff, Gillings Humanitarian Fellow and an adjunct associate professor, is lead author of the commentary “Responsive health services and quality care in settings of extreme adversity: the case of central and northern Iraq,” which was published online November 12 in Medicine, Conflicts and Survival.

Other Gillings School authors on the paper are Ms. Sheila Leatherman, professor of health policy and management, and Dr. John Tomaro, adjunct associate professor of health policy and management. They are part of a group of faculty leading the Quality in Extreme Adversity project at the Gillings School.

Countries that face extreme adversity – such as humanitarian crises, refugees and displaced populations, and conflict and post-conflict zones – are at risk for unstable conditions that threaten public health with the breakdowns of infrastructure and medical systems. These settings can lead to poor health outcomes and health emergencies, disease outbreaks, natural disasters and other environmental emergencies.

“This case study demonstrates and documents how the minimum standard of quality of care is overlooked in humanitarian emergencies,” says Dr. Jaff. “Leaders should move quickly to define what is a basic level of responsive, quality care for these areas in order to protect the most vulnerable in some of the world’s most afflicted communities.”

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