DBPapers
DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2015/B52/S23.103

ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA

A. Siruma, R. Tandlich, D. Hornby, C. S. Srinivas
Wednesday 30 September 2015 by Libadmin2015

References: 15th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2015, www.sgem.org, SGEM2015 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-40-7 / ISSN 1314-2704, June 18-24, 2015, Book5 Vol. 2, 783-790 pp

ABSTRACT
Examples of the Community-Based Participatory Research (CBRP) activities of higher education institutions in areas of maternal health and microbial water quality monitoring in South Africa are discussed, along with their disaster management implications. Maternal health and monitoring of microbial water quality are important as they have a strong influence on the disaster vulnerability of the South African population and the disaster risk from waterborne diseases in the country. The obtained results from the CBRP initiatives on cervical cancer suggest that the risk factors of cervical cancer be modified with a more detailed focus on cervical health. There is a clear connection between health and culture. Both these notions are closely linked to cultural perceptions of poor health and suffering, procedures of disease prevention, remedy for ill health, and use of health services. Hence the community engagement stakeholders must understand the cultural dynamics of specific groups and institutions in order to build relationships. This is done through participatory approach to disaster management. The two-way nature of CBRP must be maintained at all time and the benefits must be shared by both sides of the dialogue; and both sides perceive the extraction of benefit from the CBRP at all times. Non-governmental stakeholders are able to perform water quality monitoring and collect data for disaster management and the necessary decision-making using the hydrogen-sulphide test and Aquatest. The discussed examples indicate how CBRP can help solve a local problem, i.e. microbial water quality in South Africa, using the combined expertise of local and international stakeholders.

Keywords: MDG 5, academic community engagement, participatory approach to disaster management, health vulnerability.