Natural disasters and public health in the era of Sustainable Development Goals: A retrospective study of the October 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake in Pakistan

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Abstract

Over the last two decades, earthquakes across the world have taken hundreds of thousands of human lives and caused countless injuries. However, limited information is available on how these natural disasters, such as earthquakes, impact healthcare institutions and communities and how this is reflected in global health indicators. We aim to assess how earthquakes impact communities' public health and healthcare service providers by using select global health indicators. We used retrospective cohort study design, and retrieved ten districts' monthly data. We determine, uniquely, that the geographic area most affected by the earthquake in 2015 is the area with the highest tuberculosis prevalence rate. The study found that, in the area severely affected by the earthquake, the baseline number of women attending the antenatal clinics in January 2011 was 3,718, and, throughout that year to 2016, there is a slow, but steady, increase in the number of women visiting the antenatal clinics. The same month of earthquake, number of fully immunized children drops significantly, likely due to the interruption of regular health services provided in the aftermath of earthquake. This is the first comparisons of pre and post-earthquake health indicators of two region most and least affected by the earthquake. By analyzing selected health indicators before and after the earthquake, it is clear that earthquakes impact public health and cause various vulnerabilities.

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Ahmad, J., Ahmad, M. M., & Ahmad, N. (2018). Natural disasters and public health in the era of Sustainable Development Goals: A retrospective study of the October 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake in Pakistan. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 212, pp. 855–862). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2018.01.110

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