Caring for the nutritionally vulnerable during emergencies
An annotated bibliography
Emergencies are frequently described in terms of risk, vulnerability and absolute need, while interventions are evaluated using indicators of easily measurable outcomes. In this context, care can be seen, in its most basic form, as the provision of resources - for example, food, shelter, health care, sanitation, money and expertise - to meet the needs of the vulnerable. Implicit in this framework is the concept of the caregiver as a active provider and the care-receiver as passive recipient. The immediate response to emergencies, where emphasis is on providing for basic biological and environmental requirements, is an example of targeted and measurable care.
The role of a care as a process provided the rationale for selecting some of the materials in this bibliography, which includes both publised and unpublished works. Most of the former consist of publications by international and bilateral development agencies, nongovernmental organizations and peer-reviewed papers in journals and books. The latter included internal or unpublished reports, and papers from a number of international agencies.
The bibliography is not intended as a comprehensive review of the literature so much as a compillation of useful examples of different approaches to the topic. Literature that explicity examines the concept of care for the nutritionally vulnerable during emergencies is relatively scarce. Many documents refer to different types of caring behaviours or care as an implicit aspect of process, but care is rarely the main subject. A particular effort has thus been made to include any references that touch in some way on caring behaviours and related processes.
The primary focus is on providing support for the nutritionally vulnerable in emergencies, generally through food interventions. Literature has also been included where aspects of care in some non-food related topics had important implications for nutritional outcomes. Also included are documents that describe methodologies which emphasize care as an important part of process. This type of document frequently stresses the importance of participatory methodologies, which have been explored within development contexts but hardly ever in emergencies.
This document is intended as a resource primarily for health professionals and others concerned with the nutrition, health and well-being of the vulnerable during emergencies.