Internet and complex emergencies: How the Internet has become a key source of information on health and displacement in Colombia

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In 1998, PAHO/WHO began a project in Colombia to improve the health sector’s capacity to meet the needs of the displaced and vulnerable populations. Over time, PAHO/WHO opened seven field offices in Colombia to bring technical cooperation closer to those areas with the greatest need and to assist health authorities in overall planning for the health problems of the internally displaced and in specific activities such as vaccination campaigns and community training. One of the most successful results of the project is a multiagency web site on health and displacement.

This web site grew out of the need to improve existing information on the health of the displaced population in Colombia. It fits into the framework of a WHO-U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative called HINAP —Health Intelligence Network for Advanced Contingency Planning—which was a project on general health indicators to manage emergencies and proactively gather data on the health of refugees for decision making and planning

The number of visitors to the site reveals a growing tendency to use inter-agency information resources and full-text documents. In 2003, the site received 220,502 hits. The site is updated with documents from a variety of actors: PAHO/WHO and its field offices, national and international NGOs, Colombian organizations and U.N. agencies. For more information visit www.disaster-info.net/desplazados.

 

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