Jonida Haxhiu1, Gentiana Qirjako1,3, Aulona Zotaj1, Ervisa Demollari2, Romina Hala1, Boris Miska1
1 Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania;
2Health Care Services Operator;
3Faculty of Medicine, University of Medicine, Tirana, Albania.
The earthquake of November 26, 2019, and subsequent aftershocks, created a state of emergency across the perimeter affected by the earthquake. The consequences of this situations on mental health often makes it difficult to handle in the overall context of the emergency. The Institute of Public Health established multidisciplinary work teams for the management of the post-earthquake situation, consisting of doctors, psychologists, public health specialists, in order to identify mental health problems and direct the affected persons towards the necessary treatment.
Meetings were held to identify the impact of the situation on mental health and to provide advice on how to manage these problems. Various targets were contacted, including children, chronically ill, pregnant women, etc. Working teams held meetings in various tents and centers where the earthquake evacuees were accommodated, in Vora, Shijaku, Kamza, Marikaj, Bubqi, etc.
In addition, informative meetings were held in some educational institutions / kindergartens in the region inside the perimeter of the earthquake. Another objective was to meet with health center staff, such as those in contact with affected individuals or individuals with the potential to present issues in the future. In order to help manage the situation, information material on security measures in such situations, advice on various targets, including the elderly, children, chronically ill, etc. were distributed.
This intervention plan, with the data and issues it identified, brought to the attention the importance of mental health care in emergency situations, especially the importance of the identification and timely address of problems of this nature, given that such problems can, in most cases, have a long-lasting impact on the individuals involved.
Keywords: children, elderly, emergency, mental health.