Which interventions best support the health and well-being needs of rural populations experiencing natural disasters?

Nicholas Goodwin, Suzanne Lewis, Hazel Dalton, Grace Prael

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To explore and evaluate health and social care interventions delivered to rural and remote communities experiencing natural disasters in Australia and other high income countries.
Study design: We used systematic rapid review methods. First we identified a test set of citations and generated a frequency table of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to index articles. Then we used combinations of MeSH terms and keywords to search the MEDLINE (Ovid) database, and screened the titles and abstracts of the retrieved references.
Data sources: We identified 1438 articles via database searches, and a further 62 articles via hand searching of key journals and reference lists. We also found four relevant grey literature resources. After removing duplicates and undertaking two stages of screening, we included 28 studies in a synthesis of qualitative evidence.
Data synthesis: Four of us read and assessed the full text articles. We then conducted a thematic analysis using the three phases of the natural disaster response cycle.
Conclusion: There is a lack of robust evaluation of programs and interventions supporting the health and wellbeing of people in rural communities affected by natural disasters. To address the cumulative and long term impacts, evidence suggests that continuous support of people’s health and wellbeing is needed.
By using a lens of rural adversity, the complexity of the lived experience of natural disasters by rural residents can be better understood and can inform development of new models of community-based and integrated care services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S10-S13.e1
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2020


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