Preventing And Responding To Nuclear Power Plant Disasters Essay

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Public Health Disaster Response Public Health Responses to Disasters

Public Health responses to three disasters in Japan; Pandemic and All Hazard Preparedness Act (PAHPA)

What other public health measures were undertaken to mitigate the impact of these disasters?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention engage in public health preparedness programs as regular part of their mission. Public health preparedness programs are designed to enhance the capacity of communities, individual citizens, and public health systems to address emergencies and disasters that have implications for impacting health and well-being. Factors considered by public health preparedness programs include: Activities focused on prevention, quick responses that result in protecting people and the environment, and recovery measures that are required by the "scale, timing, or unpredictability [of a health emergency or disaster] that threatens to overwhelm routine capacities ("CDC," 2014).

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the lead agency for ensuring that the public receives advice on and assistance for the triple catastrophe experienced by Japan ("WHO," 2014). The magnitude of the earthquake caused a tsunami, which undermined the structural integrity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant ("WHO," 2014). WHO has been engaged in monitoring the nuclear accident situation since it first occurred ("WHO," 2014). A component of WHO monitoring has been the release of risk assessments and associated recommendations covering an array of public health concerns ("WHO," 2014). Particular foci of the risk assessments have included breastfeeding concerns, contamination of food and water, mental health issues, potassium...

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Technical support has also been provided by WHO networks (such as REMPAN, INFOSAN) to national authorities ("WHO," 2014). A key function of WHO is collaboration through agencies partnerships in order to better focus and coordinate the efforts of independent experts, and United Nations organizations ("WHO," 2014).
One very substantive issue associated with nuclear-reactor accidents is the lack of experience of medical practitioners and public health organizations with this type of disaster (Christodouleas, 2011). Indeed, the very nature of disasters contributes to problems with coordinated action in the treatment of people who experienced exposure to radiation and with respect to communication with people in the community regarding the public health response (Christodouleas, 2011). As with other types of disaster preparedness, there is a definitive need to engage in regular, mock response practice (Christodouleas, 2011). For any agency or institution with proximity to nuclear power plants -- or organizations that have a defined role in disaster response because of their position in the public health system -- there is an urgent need to describe disaster response in terms of dependable algorithmic response plans (Christodouleas, 2011). A key aspect of the planned disaster response is communication with individual patients and with the impacted communities about the risk of varying exposure levels. (Christodouleas, 2011, 2011) Such communication must address the "widespread public apprehension about acute radiation sickness and long-term cancer risks" and foster absolute participation throughout affected communities that enable the public health…

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References

Christodouleass, J.P., Forrest, R.D., Ainsley, C.G., Tochner, Z., Hahn, S.M., & Glatstein, E. (2011, June). Short-term and long-term health risks of nuclear-power-plant accidents. The New England Journal of Medicine, 364, 2334-2341 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1103676

Retrieved http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1103676

CDC responds to earthquake, tsunami and radiation release in Japan. [Website] Retreived http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/03/cdc-responds-to-earthquake-tsunami-and-radiation-release-in-japan/

Saoshiro, S. (2012, February 23). Hosono sees bigger govt role in Japan nuclear power. Reuters. Tokyo. Retrieved http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/japan-nuclear-idUSL4E8DN53H20120223
____. (2012, March). Japan: one year since triple catastrophe. Humanitarian Health Action. World Health Organization. Retrieved http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/en/
____. (2014, April). Safety of nuclear power reactors. [Website] World Nuclear Association. Retreived http://world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Safety-of-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/


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