n South African Medical Journal - Issues in medicine : Haitian reflections : forum

Volume 100, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Natural disasters and acts of terrorism demonstrate a similar critical need for national preparedness. As one of a team of volunteers with a local South African NGO who recently went on a medical mission, I would like to share glimpses of our experience and reflect on the mistakes - and also to state the obvious : that we do not learn from our mistakes. A simple literature search has shown that the same mistakes happen repeatedly. 'Humanitarian disasters occur with frightening regularity, yet international responses remain fragmented, with organizations and responders being forced to "reinvent the wheel" with every new event.' This is the result of an obvious lack of preparedness.

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