Management of Health- and Disaster-Related Data

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Book Chapter

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Prolonged health emergencies and disasters greatly affect health and well-being of individuals and communities. Past experiences on extreme emergencies and disasters have taught communities the value of preparedness. Information is key in responding to health crises especially in areas where health capacity is challenged. This chapter explains the necessity of identifying appropriate health and disaster data and proposes its transformation to information needed for decision-making. It presents different examples of systems and datasets that were used for the management of response during disasters and extreme emergencies. By introducing examples from Japan and Philippines; this chapter also points out that aside from medical data; nonmedical data; such as lifestyle and hygiene information; are necessary to protect the health of disaster victims.The objective of disaster response is to ensure that no one is left behind. It is imperative therefore that disaster response is complemented with targeted information. We recognized difficulties in community monitoring such as lack of geographic-specific information; no standard for minimum health security indicator; limited availability to submit data; and variances in need for meaningful information. There are also challenges in visualizing uncountable data; real-time updating of disaster situations; and accurate statistics disaggregated by characteristics. At the core of decision-making is the appropriate transformation of data to meaningful information. Utilization of data now becomes one of the essential adaptive technologies that needs to be provided at the local level. The challenge lies in preferential options in collecting and storing disaster- and health- and non-health-related data. Although the international initiatives expend significant effort to produce data and maps for the Health EDRM; this review considers the producers and end-users of the data products or how the data was used with the objective of studying mechanisms on how to improve on the product.