Little has been published about the impact of disasters on reproductive health (RH), pregnancy, and infant health outcomes. Limited data suggest disasters may adversely affect maternal conditions and birth outcomes. Women of reproductive age, especially those who are pregnant or postpartum (P/PP), may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural and man-made disasters. Pregnant women are cited as “populations with special clinical needs” in the 2013 The Pandemic and All-Hazards Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA). The Reproductive Health Assessment after Disaster (RHAD) Toolkit provides a set of tools to assess the reproductive health needs of women aged 15–44 affected by natural and man-made disasters. The Toolkit includes pilot-tested questionnaires, planning and training tools, sampling instructions, analysis instructions, and guidance for report writing and dissemination. It is designed to guide users with limited survey experience through the planning, implementation and analysis of a local, post-disaster RH assessment. From November 2012 through February 2013, Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine implemented the RHAD Toolkit among P/PP women affected by Hurricane Isaac. The Tulane team partnered with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to recruit and enroll 278 P/PP women in WIC and family planning clinics in seven parishes that were deemed disaster-affected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The findings from this study gleam important insight on the impact of disasters on women and their families. In this roundtable discussion, facilitators will combine a review of the RHAD Toolkit with lessons learned from Tulane’s implementation to illustrate important steps in data collection, analysis, and dissemination. Facilitators will utilize presentations, group work, critical thinking, and discussion to outline steps used for a reproductive health assessment:
- Planning: Review of questionnaire, timeline, budget and steps to recruit and train a survey team.
- Methodology: Examine two sampling methodologies; two-stage random with referral, and convenience sampling.
- Analysis: Outline best practices for data collection, cleaning, and analysis.
- Translation and dissemination: Identify stakeholders, facilitate partnerships to share findings and translate findings into action by proposing programmatic/policy responses.
- Lessons learned: Identify challenges and opportunities to implementing a post-disaster assessment.