Preparing for the unexpected (Spanish)

Date of publication: May 14, 2018

Abstract:

Past decade has shown that Latin American and Caribbean countries are sensitively exposed to extreme natural events that can result in social disasters. Episodes such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, several hurricanes like Matthew in Haiti, Maria in Puerto Rico and Irma in the Caribbean, and the more recent Central Mexico earthquake have caused widespread and catastrophic damage and thousands of deaths. How well prepared is the Latin American region to confront natural disasters? Are the plans well enough? Are the healthcare frontline workers adequately prepared? Are the main obstacles poverty, inadequate training or lack of planning? The project objective was to understand how the LatAm region performs in its policies to prevent natural disasters compared to USA/Canada, and also how has the experience of suffering a natural disaster shaped this performance and its perception. The data was collected in a two wave tracking fieldwork developed in 2016-2017, interviewing over 2500 healthcare professionals per wave, in 19 countries throughout the Americas, including mainly Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, USA and Canada. Scope is on doctors as they are part of an intermediate population who is supposed to have a critical frontline role in case of a disaster, and therefore can provide an original voice, more informed than the lane citizen and less idealized than the politician. They are usually researched for marketing purposes. On this case, we will take the advantage of platforms originally designed for market research and put them to work for the purpose of generating input on social, humanitarian and public policy related subjects. Preliminary results show interesting lessons for policy makers. First is that the experience of having suffered a natural disaster has an extraordinary impact on our perception of how prepared we are to face them. Second is that main deficiencies pointed out by healthcare professionals are less related to lacks in budget, infrastructure and equipment, than they are to shortage of protocols and specific trainings on how to proceed on this type of situations. This project was fielded by Fine Panel in Latin American countries and counted with the generous assistance of Reckner Healthcare recruiting doctors in USA and Canada, and with the support of Confirmit Software who waived their license costs for this non-for-profit initiative. As an innovative approach instead of regular incentives, a donation to the victims of Haiti and Mexico tragic events was offered as incentive. As a result over 20,000 dollars were collected in this initiative to support Save The Children missions in these countries. While it is not a classic market research study, this case study shows how market research tools can be used for humanitarian and public policy purposes, while helping to engage respondents and contributing to sensitive needs in our region.

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