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Title: Disaster Health
Tags: Health, nurses, ministry of health
Blog Entry: Hajj-related trauma is one of the main causes of deaths of many people during Hajj season (Ahmed, Arabi & Memish 2006). Some of the key causes of trauma in Hajj derive from vehicle accidents which occur due to extreme traffic build up, poor compliance with seatbelts and a disorganized flow of traffic. Furthermore, many people in Hajj walk for long distances, which is the main reason why the stampede occurs. Accidents from motor vehicles mainly occur in crowded areas, especially around holy sites, and these results to deaths and causalities among pilgrims in Mecca. Stampede is the worst tragedy because once it begins; there is no remedy that can be applied to stop people—it’s a terrifying mass of people that you cannot compare to, for instance, everyday crowds of highschoolers being late to school .   A stampede occurs when a large group of people is fleeing due to perceived threats and as a result, very many people are crushed because they are moving in a disorganized manner. Casualties from a stampede often result in suffocation and head injuries. The main problem is that these people cannot be attended immediately due to overcrowding. From the years 1990-2006, more than two thousand people have lost their lives from mere incidences of stampedes. The initial government's strategies have focused on the communicable diseases, but there has been less emphasis on the non-communicable health hazards (Steffen et al. 2012). However, the incidences of stampede have resulted in significant changes in the Hajj. There have been changes in the safety measures and the physical environment, and this has minimized such traumatic risks considerably. However, despite the changes, the risks of these incidences cannot be fully eliminated. There was a crane collapse in Mecca in September 2015 when a crane fell into Mecca’s grand mosque (Masjid Al-Haram) killing more than 100 and injuring 400 people (Mottale 2015). In the same month, the Mina stampede occurred when two large groups of pilgrims unexpectedly crossed onto one same street from different directions. It was the deadliest stampede in the history of Hajj, and it resulted in 2,411 deaths (National Catholic Reporter 2016).   Stampedes can be very dangerous, and they can cause many deaths in the society. The effects of the stampedes can only be reduced by a rapid response from the relevant parties. The registered nurses, as well as the Ministry of health, have an important role to play in the prevention of the effects of the stampede. The nurses are the life savers, and thus, they have a very important role that cannot be ignored (Mottale 2015). However, the nurses must also work with the Ministry of health in order to ensure that the nurses are availed with the right resources to handle the situation. Although the nurses have a lot of skills that can be used in the development of policies that can be set to prevent disasters, the paper will lay an explicit focus on their role and that of the Ministry of health in responding to a disaster that has already occurred (Mottale 2015).   Roles of Nurses   One of the key roles of nurses is to provide the first aid. In the case of a stampede, many people have many different injuries that need an immediate care. For a nurse, the key role is to provide the first aid to the survivors so that they can be stabilized before being taken to the health facilities. A nurse should be in the forefront in assessing the injuries, which the people have sustained, and come up with a quick solution on how they can stop some of the effects, such as bleeding, within the shortest time possible (Romer & Hebda 2013). The act of nursing gives much help in eliminating the risk of infection from other types of diseases or even the risk of death. In the case of this type of disaster, the nurse should treat wounds and even try to provide pain relief for the victims.   Another important role of the nurses is to make an assessment of the health needs and then to make the right decisions to promote health and survival. In this type of a disaster, it is likely that the number of injured people will be significantly high (Bajow 2010). The most important role of the nurse, in this case, is to classify the various victims according to the health care needs that each of them may require. For example, there may be people with spinal injuries and if they are not easily identified many problems can arise since these people need more care than the others (Alzahrani & Kyratsis 2016).   The health facilities will be so overwhelmed by different people who are suffering from serious injuries. Since the role of the nurses is to promote life at all costs, the nurses should always classify the victims according to the extent of their injuries. At this point, they should come up with a strategy of abandoning the first come first serve base and work towards promoting survival of individuals by caring for individuals who are seriously injured, but they are more likely to survive (Stokowski 2015).   Another important role of the nurse is to collaborate with other nurses so that they can come up with plans for developing a triage system. The triage systems make it easy to assess the skills needed by the nurses in the provisions of the right services to the people (Al Thobaity et al. 2015). Through the information revealed by the triage system, it will be easy for the nurses to organize for logistics that will help in providing optimal care to the victims (Romer & Hebda 2013). An identification of the dead people is also a role of the nurse since the increasing number of dead can easily impede the rescue of the individuals who have very high chances of survival (Mohammed 2012).   Role of the Ministry of Health   My organization, the Ministry of health, has an imperative role to play in the response to the disaster. It is a key player in the whole process, and all the operations go around the Ministry of health. One of the key roles of the Ministry is to provide the required resources to the nurses and other teams in the ground. In the above case, many resources, in terms of materials and human resources, are in high demand. The purpose of the Ministry is to ensure that there are enough needed resources. The Ministry of health is also responsible for the provision of logistics, such as ambulances, which will be used for transporting the victims to the various hospitals (Mohammed 2012). On the other hand, the Ministry should also provide medicine and other resources in order to facilitate the rescue process. The rescue process is resource intensive, and the Ministry should ensure that the nurses and other medics who are at the scene have everything they need at hand so that they can perform their duties well (Alamri n.d.).   The Ministry of health will be expected to make calls for backup from the neighboring facilities so that the number of nurses can increase and they will be in a better position to save as many lives as they can. The organization and planning of the various teams on the ground should also be a role of the Ministry of health. It should ensure that the rescue process is running smoothly.   On the other hand, the Ministry of health is expected to play a very important role in the communication. One of the most eminent challenges that occur in a disaster scenario is the absence of communication channels. There are many people unknowing the whereabouts of their relatives, and every piece of information is relevant to them. In a disaster situation, much information in a form of rumors is available, which may be misleading (Alamri n.d.). It is the role of the Ministry of health, to set up a communication center to supply the progress of the rescue operation. It should discourage all other forms of communication which are not official. Through a good communication channel, it will be easy to liaise with the nurses, the public, and even with governmental departments that will be interested (Alamri n.d.).   In conclusion, a stampede can cause many injuries and deaths to people; the Hajji stampede is an example. As a registered nurse, I have a very imperative role to play in such a disaster. My role involves offering the first aid to the injured people and being in the forefront to save as many lives as possible. I should also engage in the planning of the rescue operation and in the categorization of individuals by their injuries to identify the right care. The Ministry of health also has a key role to play in the mobilization of resources as well as in providing logistics and communication which is of a high importance.