The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3207.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 12:50 PM

Abstract #58556

Central American Disaster Health Information Network

Stacey J. Arnesen, MS, Specialized Information Services, National Library of Medicine, 6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 510, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-496-2971,, Ricardo Perez, Emergency Preparedness Program, Pan American Health Organization, Av. Amazonas 2889 y Mariana de Jesús, Quito, Ecuador, Dave P. Zervaas, Centro Regional de Información sobre Desastres América Latina y el Caribe, Edificio Comisión Nacional de Emergencias, San Jose, Costa Rica, Victor Cid, Office of Computer and Communications Systems, National Libray of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894, John C. Scott, MS, Center for Public Service Communications, 3221 North George Mason Drive, Arlington, VA 22207, and M. Cecilia Garcia Ramírez, Biblioteca Médica Nacional, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Pimer Piso Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Atrás del Hospital Escuela, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

In Latin America disaster vulnerability is high due to a significant risk of natural disasters, poverty, poor planning, and a weak institutional framework for disaster management. For example, in 1998 Hurricane Mitch left 8,000 dead and 9,000 missing in Honduras and Nicaragua. In 2001, earthquakes in El Salvador left 1,000 dead and 650,000 homeless. Following these disasters, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) developed a project to rebuild and improve the health information infrastructure in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. In 2000, NLM funded the Foundation for the Coordination of Information Resources for Disaster Prevention (FundaCRID), a non-governmental organization that operates the Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin American and the Caribbean (CRID), to help these countries develop a system for collecting and disseminating health information related to disasters. This initiative has strengthened participating libraries and organizations in three areas: Technological Infrastructure (Internet connectivity and computer equipment; Information Management (Librarian Training); Information Product Development (Digital Libraries, Web sites). Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador have established Disaster Information Centers designed to enable health professionals, government agencies, and non-government organizations to access vital information previously unavailable. These organizations have acquired the knowledge and technological resources that promote delivery of reliable information to health providers. The establishment of these centers should facilitate long-term improvement of disaster prevention activities. The NLM/PAHO/CRID collaboration is also a model for disseminating health information in underserved, disaster-prone environments, and for managing non-traditional literature regarding health aspects of disasters.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Latin American, Disasters

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Using Information for Public Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA