CRCP units: a strategy to assess health risks in children in contaminated communities

León-Arce et al.

Humanitarian crises can occur in places affected by chemical, physical, biological, and social threats, especially when these threats interact with each other and cause a syndemic. In order to avoid crises in these places, it is necessary to introduce mitigation measures that we have framed as "humanitarian scenarios". Due to their nature, implementation of these interventions requires the creation of multidisciplinary operational groups with a work strategy that integrates them into the affected community. In the case of the child population, the operational group was called the ‘childhood risks in contaminated places’ (CRCP) unit; contaminated places meaning localities impacted by chemical, physical, or biological threats. The strategy has six phases: (i) planning the survey and site visit; (ii) community involvement in identifying threats, vulnerabilities, and routes of exposure (the path of pollutants from their source to the receiving population), and in preparing joint work for the subsequent phases; iii) prioritization of risks identified through environmental monitoring and use of biomarkers of exposure and effects; iv) risk prevention through the creation of various ‘capacities and alternatives for the prevention of syndemic threats’; (v) advocacy to implement these capacities and alternatives through risk communication and local training; and (vi) protection through measures that include telehealth, social progress, and innovation to improve health coverage. The strategy has been implemented in different contexts, and in some of them it has been enriched by analysis of respect for human rights.

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