Taking care of children during and after disasters

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October 10, 2017

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CDC's Emergency Partners newsletter provides updates, resources, and useful tips to subscribers interested in emergency preparedness and CDC's emergency responses.

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    Protecting your child is a matter of  A-B-C


    Three steps to protect your child during an emergency during the school day

    Schools and Childcare Centers - Preparing for the Unexpected

    Young children wearing backpacks, smiling and running toward camera


    Ask how you would be reunited with your child in an emergency or evacuation.

    • If students had to evacuate, where should you go to pick them up?
    • How would the school notify you in the event of an emergency?

    Bring extra medication, special foods, or supplies your child would need if you were separated overnight.

    • What essential supplies would your child need if separated from you overnight? (Medications? Inhaler? Milk? Diapers? Battery pack for special equipment?)
    • Does the school have an emergency stockpile of these items or could you bring extras to be kept at school?
    • What is the school policy for how and when medicine can be administered to your child?

    Complete a backpack contact information card and tuck one in your child’s backpack and your wallet.

    • Emergencies are chaotic! Make sure your child or their school knows how to reach you, and who should be called if your phone isn’t working.
    • Download and complete your own backpack card.

    Follow these A-B-C’s so that emergencies are less chaotic, children can be kept safe, and families can be reunited safely as soon as possible.


    In the United States, about 69 million children are separated from their parents or caregivers every workday to attend school or childcare. Because an emergency can happen anywhere and at any time, it is important that schools and childcare providers prepare to protect the children in their care.                                                                                                  More>>

    Scientist Spotlight: Blanche Greene-Cramer


    In Liberia, there are only three OB/GYNs and one pediatrician to serve 4 million people.


    What is your current role at CDC?

    BGC: “I’ve been an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer for one year within the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch in the Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health.”

    When and where was your tour of duty?  

    BGC: “I deployed to Liberia in fall 2016 and again in spring 2017. I was primarily in Montserrado and Bong counties, visiting the facilities with the highest numbers of maternal deaths reported.”

    What were your responsibilities and what type of work did you support?

    BGC: “The Maternal/Perinatal/Neonatal Death Surveillance and Response in Fragile Settings project involves a partnership between the CDC, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the United Nations Population Fund. I was responsible for epidemiological research and providing technical assistance for data collection.

    My day typically involved meeting with facility and county liaisons, conducting a brief site tour to look at facility capacity and resources, and working with partner staff to review facility ledgers for details and potential gaps in data. We were also interested in identifying maternal deaths that may have been missed or not counted as a pregnancy-related. In addition, we pilot tested a tool that estimates stillbirths and neonatal deaths (within 28 days of birth) since these deaths are often unreported or underreported. We plan to use all of this information to improve each facility’s processes for recording and reporting these deaths to registries.

    My team in Atlanta also plans to provide similar assistance in Myanmar, Cameroon, and Nepal in the near future. The ultimate goal of this project is to end preventable maternal, fetal, and newborn deaths in these countries that are often affected by humanitarian crises.

    Blanche Greene-Cramer looks over a patient file

    Describe your experience in one word. Include a brief explanation. 

    BGC: Extraordinary. The CDC country office that supported the work, the partners, and the government counterparts were all extraordinary. Despite having limited medical staff and resources, everyone involved was dedicated to collecting this data.”

     What surprised you the most during your experience?

    BGC: “In Liberia, there are only three OB/GYNs and one pediatrician to serve 4 million people.”

    Left: Blanche Greene-Cramer looks over a patient file

    What was the most challenging part of your work?

    BGC: “With limited time, it is difficult to access some facilities, especially in the remote areas of the southeastern part of Liberia. To overcome this challenge, we ‘trained the trainers’.  We shared our best practices in data collection so that they can travel to those remote facilities and train workers there.”

    What best practices or lessons learned did you gain?

    BGC: In Liberia, many disease outbreaks occur. Liberians are still recovering from the Ebola epidemic and, most recently, meningococcal disease. We need to build the resilience there by strengthening the health system, and this is best accomplished by working collaboratively with partners.”


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