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Critical Evidence in Times of Natural Disasters: Not to Kill a Mocking Bird....

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:52 GMT

Author: Haider Naqvi
Position: Senior Instructor and Consultant Psychiatrist
Institution: Aga Khan University Hospital
Submitted Date: April 06, 2006
Published Date: April 6, 2006
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Tharayan and colleagues' article on the need for robust evidence on interventions at times of crisis and disasters is important (1). We have faced the same difficulty in Pakistan after the October 8th 2005 earthquake that caused unprecendented mayhem and tragedy in its aftermath (2). The response by the world community was indeed heartwarming but sadly inappropriate to the socio-cultural ethos and needs of the people. The P.T.S.D band wagon phenomenenon and subsequent de-briefing led to more distress and problems for the carers and clients.

The systematic reviews by Cochrane were indeed helpful for various organizations/professionals aiming to do relief work in the earthquake affected areas of Northern Pakistan. I feel other publishers should also be commended for making the literature available, online, for resource-poor countries in developing countries. For the sake of unbiased and scientific evidence it is wise not to kill a mocking bird.

(1)Tharyan P, Clark M, Green S. How the Cochrane Collaboration Is Responding to the Asian Tsunami. PLoS Med 2(6): e169 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020169
(2). Farooq S. Mental health research agenda for the 2005 Earthquale in Pakistan. Editorial. JCPSP 2006;16(2):85-86.

No competing interests declared.