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Health risks and risk-taking behaviors among International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expatriates returning from humanitarian missions.
J Travel Med. 2009 Nov-Dec; 16(6):382-90.JT

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess self-reported health risk and risk-taking behavior of humanitarian expatriates.

METHODS

A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was completed by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expatriates returning during May 2003 to September 2004, covering perceived health status before and after mission, malaria prevention, prevalence of exposure to stress, accidents and violence, and risk-taking behaviors.

FINDINGS

More than one-third (36.4%) reported worse health on return from the mission. A third (35%) of expatriates returning from Sub-Saharan Africa excl. South Africa reported not having followed ICRC's recommendation on taking malaria prophylaxis in spite of stating a high degree of awareness of the risks and availability of effective drugs. Over 40% reported the mission having been more stressful than expected, mostly due to the working environment; 10% reported injury or accidents and 16.2% exposure to at least one act of violence. Almost one-third of the respondents reported having engaged in casual sexual relationships. Of these, 64% reported using condoms at every sexual contact, and women reported lower usage of condoms than men. Many (27%) reported involvement in risk-taking behavior.

CONCLUSION

This study shows that humanitarian aid workers experience significant worsening of their health during overseas missions. Many are at risk of experiencing violence, accidents, or injuries. Despite awareness of the risks, many expatriates engage in behaviors that could endanger their health. Improved selection of expatriate staff, training programs emphasizing areas of concern, strengthening social support locally, and follow-up in field may help to alleviate these problems.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Division of International and Humanitarian Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland. atti-la@dahlgren.chNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19930377

Citation

Dahlgren, Atti-La, et al. "Health Risks and Risk-taking Behaviors Among International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Expatriates Returning From Humanitarian Missions." Journal of Travel Medicine, vol. 16, no. 6, 2009, pp. 382-90.
Dahlgren AL, Deroo L, Avril J, et al. Health risks and risk-taking behaviors among International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expatriates returning from humanitarian missions. J Travel Med. 2009;16(6):382-90.
Dahlgren, A. L., Deroo, L., Avril, J., Bise, G., & Loutan, L. (2009). Health risks and risk-taking behaviors among International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expatriates returning from humanitarian missions. Journal of Travel Medicine, 16(6), 382-90. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2009.00350.x
Dahlgren AL, et al. Health Risks and Risk-taking Behaviors Among International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Expatriates Returning From Humanitarian Missions. J Travel Med. 2009 Nov-Dec;16(6):382-90. PubMed PMID: 19930377.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Health risks and risk-taking behaviors among International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expatriates returning from humanitarian missions. AU - Dahlgren,Atti-La, AU - Deroo,Lisa, AU - Avril,Jacqueline, AU - Bise,Gerard, AU - Loutan,Louis, PY - 2009/11/26/entrez PY - 2009/11/26/pubmed PY - 2010/4/3/medline SP - 382 EP - 90 JF - Journal of travel medicine JO - J Travel Med VL - 16 IS - 6 N2 - OBJECTIVE: To assess self-reported health risk and risk-taking behavior of humanitarian expatriates. METHODS: A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was completed by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expatriates returning during May 2003 to September 2004, covering perceived health status before and after mission, malaria prevention, prevalence of exposure to stress, accidents and violence, and risk-taking behaviors. FINDINGS: More than one-third (36.4%) reported worse health on return from the mission. A third (35%) of expatriates returning from Sub-Saharan Africa excl. South Africa reported not having followed ICRC's recommendation on taking malaria prophylaxis in spite of stating a high degree of awareness of the risks and availability of effective drugs. Over 40% reported the mission having been more stressful than expected, mostly due to the working environment; 10% reported injury or accidents and 16.2% exposure to at least one act of violence. Almost one-third of the respondents reported having engaged in casual sexual relationships. Of these, 64% reported using condoms at every sexual contact, and women reported lower usage of condoms than men. Many (27%) reported involvement in risk-taking behavior. CONCLUSION: This study shows that humanitarian aid workers experience significant worsening of their health during overseas missions. Many are at risk of experiencing violence, accidents, or injuries. Despite awareness of the risks, many expatriates engage in behaviors that could endanger their health. Improved selection of expatriate staff, training programs emphasizing areas of concern, strengthening social support locally, and follow-up in field may help to alleviate these problems. SN - 1708-8305 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19930377/Health_risks_and_risk_taking_behaviors_among_International_Committee_of_the_Red_Cross__ICRC__expatriates_returning_from_humanitarian_missions_ L2 - https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article-lookup/doi/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2009.00350.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -