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J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2012;20 Suppl 1:S54-8. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-20-08-S54.

Updates on disaster preparedness and progress in disaster relief.

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University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Immediately after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, many private citizens, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and medical associations struggled to mount an effective humanitarian aid response. The experiences of these groups have led to changes at their institutions regarding disaster preparedness and response to future events. One of the main challenges in a humanitarian medical response to a disaster is determining when to end response efforts and return responsibility for delivery of medical care back to the host nation. For such a transition to occur, the host nation must have the capacity to deliver medical care. In Haiti, minimal capacity to deliver such care existed before the earthquake, making subsequent transition difficult. If successful, several initiatives proposed to improve disaster response and increase surgical capacity in Haiti could be deployed to other low- and middle-income countries.

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