Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the pandemic flu threat, and increased consciousness of terrorism have heightened awareness of the need for emergency preparedness within the maternal and child health (MCH) community. In response, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, is addressing this vital issue. AMCHP aims to increase states’ capacity to engage in disaster preparedness to meet the needs of MCH populations.
While it is impossible to know what kind of emergency may occur or the magnitude or scope of the disaster, it is possible to engage in planning. Fortunately, a wealth of resources exist describing the how to address many kinds of emergency situations. Additionally, many professional organizations have released recommendations on how to work with special populations during these emergency situations. State- and community-level MCH staffs do not need to recreate the preparedness work already done nationally. However, they will want to make sure that the needs of MCH populations are adequately addressed within state planning and address any gaps that may exist. State MCH staffs are also challenged to educate the families and individuals they work with about how to prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency situation. AMCHP’s role is to ensure MCH populations’ needs are represented in discussions about and recommendations relevant to emergency preparedness at the national and state levels.
About this Resource
AMCHP developed this online guide to ensure the needs of women and children are clearly addressed as part of state-wide emergency preparedness. The recommendations are based upon lessons learned and highlight important steps to take to protect the MCH community. Over time, AMCHP will build upon the information in this guide and provide additional resources.
AMCHP members can use this guide to clarify their role in developing and participating in emergency preparedness plans and activities and to aid in advocating for the needs of this population. It offers a wealth of resources and information for review that provide practical advice to meet the needs of MCH populations before, during and after and emergency. Most recommendations are derived from the real life experiences of MCH program staff who have dealt with emergencies.
MCH professionals can begin to address emergency preparedness by integrating activities from this guide into their current systems and procedures. Engaging in agency-specific planning and training are a first line defense in preparing for a possible emergency. It is also vital to build relationships, if they do not already exist, with those groups that are essential partners or most vulnerable during an emergency.
States are encouraged to consider these recommendations and use them to strengthen state-level emergency planning and preparedness activities. The prioritization process used at the state and local level to allocate resources and integrate the recommendations into preparedness and planning activities will vary. However, this report should be used as a guide and resource to assure that these special populations’ needs are met.
This guide was crosswalked with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood's, Women and Infants Service Package (WISP). The WISP offers guidance to meet the health care needs of pregnant women, new mothers, fragile newborns and infants during and after a disaster situation. All sections of this online resource guide that are in green font are from the WISP and there is a direct link to this resource when cross linked
Defining MCH Populations’ Needs
The following information was developed by the New York State Division of Family Health as part of their MCH Emergency Preparedness Plan. It provides specific information about the various MCH groups and their specific needs during an emergency situation.
Women | Children and CYSHCN