226992 Effectiveness of Peer Support on Limb-Loss Survivor Recovery and Empowerment in Post-Conflict Settings

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 3:24 PM - 3:42 PM

Marcia Townsend, PhD , Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, Survivor Corps, Washington, DC
Melissa Freeman, MD MPH , Consultant, Consultant, Alexandria, VA
Brent Maxwell, MIAA , Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, Survivor Corps, Washington, DC
Cameron Macauley, PA-C, MPH , Global Programs, Survivor Corps, Washington, DC
Survivors of landmines and unexploded ordnance in post-conflict settings face multiple challenges influencing their capacity to recover from their injuries. Amputees struggle with poor health and/or poorly constructed prostheses, scarce economic resources, and disempowerment. Since 1997 Survivor Corps (previously known as Landmine Survivors Network) has operated a peer support outreach program to provide comprehensive amputee-to-amputee peer support in countries heavily affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance. Peer outreach workers who are limb-loss survivors trained in techniques of peer support, act as role models to help other amputees in their recovery either through individual household visits or in group settings. The program focuses on addressing barriers and obstacles that amputees face in post-conflict settings. Beneficiaries of Survivor Corps' peer outreach program report significantly improved health-related quality of life following 12 months of peer support from trained community outreach workers, as measured by the internationally recognized SF-36®. Through an initial and 12-month follow-up questionnaire, survivors also report increased social empowerment (defined as increased knowledge about human rights and legally mandated entitlements and increased participation in community events). Improved mental and physical health enables survivors with limb loss and other traumatic injuries to participate in rebuilding their communities and aid in the process of post-conflict reconciliation. Empowering individual survivors to claim their rights and draw attention to issues of inclusion is a key component to enabling survivors to improve their health and communities.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the health and empowerment improvements that survivors of injuries due to landmines and unexploded ordnance (as well as amputees from other causes) experience after 12 months of psychosocial support from a trained peer support worker. 2. Explain how psychosocial support in the areas of health, economic opportunity and human rights helps trauma survivors recover by addressing barriers and obstacles that people with disabilities face in post-conflict settings. 3. Define the relationship between increased access to health care, improved economic opportunities, and a survivor’s capacity to make informed decisions and self-advocate, which empowers survivors to claim their rights and draw attention to issues of inclusion.

Keywords: Disability, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a former employee who is conducting the main statistical analysis for the presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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