During the summer of 2017, GHS Scholar Soham Rege experienced first-hand the magnitude of efforts involved in disaster preparedness and response in Peru, a country particularly vulnerable to natural disaster. From experiencing active response to large scale fires to observing earthquake monitoring, he saw the collaboration of myriad groups including the ministry of health, public hospitals, firefighters (bomberos), and more. In collaboration with Dr. Raul Acosta at Hospital Cayetano Heredia, his project aimed to develop a Peruvian-based disaster response team by determining a profile of potential volunteer characteristics and using those findings to help guide future recruitment. This work was a direct response to the 2017 floods in northern Peru that had devastated the region and left thousands homeless. Through focus groups and a survey based methodology, he determined key demographic factors and attitudes shared by potential disaster responders. His work will be used in the coming months to design and develop a DMAT-style disaster response team based out of Lima, Peru for future disaster response.
Funding was graciously provided by the John Sloan Dickey Center Global Health Initiative.