The complex emergency database

A global repository of small-scale surveys on nutrition, health and mortality

Chiara Altare, Debarati Guha-Sapir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Evidence has become central for humanitarian decision making, as it is now commonly agreed that aid must be provided solely in proportion to the needs and on the basis of needs assessments. Still, reliable epidemiological data from conflict-affected communities are difficult to acquire in time for effective decisions, as existing health information systems progressively lose functionality with the onset of conflicts. In the last decade, health and nutrition humanitarian agencies have made substantial progress in collecting quality data using small-scale surveys. In 2002, a group of academics, nongovernmental organizations, and UN agencies launched the Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) methodology. Since then, field agencies have conducted thousands of surveys. Although the contribution of each survey by itself is limited by its small sample and the impossibility to extrapolate results to national level, their aggregation can provide a more stable view of both trends and distributions in a larger region. The Complex Emergency Database (CEDAT) was set up in order to make best use of the collective force of these surveys. Functioning as a central repository, it can provide valuable information on trends and patterns of mortality and nutrition indicators from conflict-affected communities. Given their high spatial resolution and their high frequency, CEDAT data can complement official statistics in between nationwide surveys. They also provide information of the displacement status of the measured population, pointing out vulnerabilities. CEDAT is hosted at the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain. It runs on voluntary agreements between the survey implementer and the CEDAT team. To date, it contains 3309 surveys from 51 countries, and is a unique repository of such data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere109022
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 21 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Nutrition Surveys
Nutrition
Emergencies
Health
Databases
nutrition
Mortality
health information
needs assessment
nongovernmental organizations
national surveys
Health Information Systems
information systems
disasters
Epidemiology
Needs Assessment
United Nations
Disasters
Surveys and Questionnaires
epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

The complex emergency database : A global repository of small-scale surveys on nutrition, health and mortality. / Altare, Chiara; Guha-Sapir, Debarati.

In: PloS one, Vol. 9, No. 10, e109022, 21.10.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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