Project Characteristics of the Health Interview Survey
and Health Assistance for Namie Evacuees
For the JRCS and the College of Nursing, the health survey and assistance project was a completely new initiative they had never experienced before. Therefore, before launching the programs, the researchers needed to examine and devise a framework to implement the project, as well as to forge a collaborative alliance with the Namie municipality and other pertinent organizations in the community.
Devising of the Framework for Project Implementation
Having agreed to undertake the project jointly, the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) and the Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing (College of Nursing) examined, first, how they should allocate the tasks between the two organizations, and then worked out a framework of the project. On the part of the JRCS headquarters, the Nursing Department took charge of the duties including project planning, budgeting/administration of the funds, planning deployment of nurses, etc. from the Japanese Red Cross hospitals throughout Japan, and equipping the local office in Iwaki City for use. Meanwhile, the College of Nursing positioned the project as an initiative undertaken by the practicing division of the “Frontier Center for Nursing Practice, Education, and Research”, an in-house organization of the college: They took charge of designing/managing the project, staffing and operation of the local office, designing/implementation of the health survey, and training of the nurses participating in the activities. To strengthen the alliance and facilitate the smooth operation of the project, a quarterly liaison meeting was held between the JRCS and the College of Nursing.
The local office in Iwaki City opened up in October 2012 within the Iwaki Office of the JRC Fukushima Blood Center. Subsequently, the hub of the project was moved to the JRCS Public Health Room for Namie in the Namie Community Center, which was established by the Namie municipality in October 2013. At the local office, an administrative clerk and the part-time staff from the College of Nursing (two workers, i.e. a public health nurse and a nurse) were stationed regularly and joined by the nurses deployed from the Red Cross hospitals across the country. A total of 79 nurses and others were deployed from 50 facilities (Japanese Red Cross hospitals, a school of nursing, etc.) throughout the activity period.
From 2013 onwards, the part-time staff from the College of Nursing stationed regularly at the local office, were replaced by public health nurses who were hired locally, thereby allowing the management of the local office to be geared towards their community. Besides, the teachers, staff and graduates of the College of Nursing participated in the project.
Alliance with Pertinent Organizations in the Community
Forging alliance with pertinent organizations in the community was essential to carrying out the activities smoothly and on a continual basis. The organizations, with which the alliance was needed, included; the Soso Public Health and Welfare Office of the Fukushima Prefectural Government (Iwaki branch), the Namie municipality (public health nurses of the health insurance section posted in Nihonmatsu City, and the General and Administrative (G&A) section of the Iwaki Branch), and the community groups of the former Namie residents (Namie Kizuna Kai and Gururinko Tai).
As an arena for discussion to connect these organizations, the following meetings took place after the project was launched.
- On October 15, 2012, when the local office was opened, an alliancing meeting was held among the JRCS, the College of Nursing, the Namie municipality, and the Soso Public Health and Welfare Office of the Fukushima Prefectural Government to discuss questionnaire forms, target evacuees, and post-survey follow-ups, and an agreement was reached.
- The JRCS and the College of Nursing had annual meetings with the JRCS Fukushima Chapter to exchange information or for other purposes. They also collaborated on the donation of playground equipment and planning/managing of lectures.
- To enhance the alliance with the health insurance section of the Namie municipality, a monthly “Namie/JRCS Liaison Meeting” was held among the public health nurses of the health insurance section of the Namie municipality, the G&A section of their Iwaki Branch, management staff of the JRCS Iwaki local office, personnel in charge at the College of Nursing, and the nurses deployed from the Japanese Red Cross hospitals. At the meeting, the survey data was shared and information about the support for the Namie citizens was exchanged among the attendees. To deliver support to Namie citizens in need of follow-up, the Soso Public Health and Welfare Office of the Fukushima Prefectural Government (Iwaki branch) and the Fukushima Center for Disaster Mental Health joined the above meeting from the summer of 2014 onwards to discuss the issues.