An Analysis of Compounding Factors of Epidemics in Complex Emergencies: A System Dynamics Approach

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Harpring , R , Maghsoudi , A , Fikar , C , Piotrowicz , W & Heaslip , G 2021 , ' An Analysis of Compounding Factors of Epidemics in Complex Emergencies: A System Dynamics Approach ' , Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management , vol. 11 , no. 2 , pp. 198-226 . https://doi.org/10.1108/JHLSCM-07-2020-0063

Title: An Analysis of Compounding Factors of Epidemics in Complex Emergencies: A System Dynamics Approach
Author: Harpring, Russell; Maghsoudi, Amin; Fikar, Christian; Piotrowicz, Wojciech; Heaslip, Graham
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility, Helsinki
Hanken School of Economics, HUMLOG Institute, Helsinki
Hanken School of Economics, HUMLOG Institute, Helsinki
Hanken School of Economics, Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility, Helsinki
Hanken School of Economics, Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility, Helsinki
Belongs to series: Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management
ISSN: 2042-6747
Abstract: Purpose: This research describes compounding factors in a complex emergency which exacerbate a cholera epidemic among vulnerable populations due to supply chain disruptions. Basic needs such as food, medicine, water, sanitation, and hygiene commodities, are critical to reduce the incidence rate of cholera and control the spread of infection. Conflicts cause damage to infrastructure, displace vulnerable populations, and restrict the flow of goods from both commercial and humanitarian organizations. This work assesses the underlying internal and external factors which either aggravate or mitigate the risk of a cholera outbreak in such settings, using Yemen as a case study. Design/Methodology/Approach: This study adopts a system dynamics methodology to analyze factors which influence cholera outbreaks in the context of the Yemeni Civil War. A causal loop diagram with multiple components was constructed to represent the complexities of humanitarian situations which require critical decision-making. The model was built using data from humanitarian organizations, NGOs, and practitioners, along with literature from academic sources. Variables in the model were confirmed through semistructured interviews with a field expert. Findings: Compounding factors which influenced the cholera outbreak in Yemen are visualized in a causal loop diagram, which can improve understanding of relationships where numerous uncertainties exist. A strong link exists between humanitarian response and the level of infrastructure development in country. Supply chains are affected by constraints deriving from the Yemeni conflict, further inhibiting the use of infrastructure, which limits access to basic goods and services. Aligning long-term development objectives with short-term humanitarian response efforts can create more flexible modes of assistance to prevent and control future outbreaks. Research limitations/implications: The model focuses on the qualitative aspects of system dynamics to visualize the logistics and supply chain-related constraints that impact cholera prevention, treatment, and control through humanitarian interventions. The resulting causal loop diagram is bounded by the Yemen context, thus an extension of the model adapted for other contexts is recommended for further study. Practical implications: This research presents a systematic view of dynamic factors existing in complex emergencies which have cause and effect relationships. Several models of cholera outbreaks have been used in previous studies, primarily focusing on the modes and mechanisms of transmission throughout a population. However, such models typically do not include other internal and external factors which influence the population and context at the site of an outbreak. This model incorporates those factors from a logistics perspective to address the distribution of in-kind goods and cash and voucher assistance. Social implications: This research has been aligned with six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, using their associated targets in the model as variables which influence the cholera incidence rate. Recognizing that the SDGs are interlinked, as are the dynamic factors in complex humanitarian emergencies, we have chosen to take an interdisciplinary approach to consider social, economic, and environmental factors which may be impacted by this research. Originality/Value: This paper provides an insight into the underlying interrelations of internal and external factors present in the context of a cholera outbreak in a complex emergency. Supply chains for food, WASH, and health commodities are crucial to help prevent, control, and treat an outbreak. The model exposes vulnerabilities in the supply chain which may offer guidance for decision makers to improve resilience, reduce disruptions, and decrease the severity of cholera outbreaks. Keywords: Humanitarian logistics, complex emergency, cash and voucher assistance, epidemics, in-kind assistance, system dynamics, resilience, cholera outbreak, disruptions, casual loop diagram
Date: 2021-03-03
Subject: 512 Business and Management
humanitarian logistics
complex emergency
cash and voucher assistance
epidemics
in-kind assistance
system dynamics
resilience
cholera outbreak
disruptions
casual loop diagram
Business, Markets and Societal Dynamics
KOTA2021?
PREM2021_04
2 - Hybrid open access publication channel
1 - Self archived
https://helda.helsinki.fi/dhanken/handle/10227/409397
1- Minst en av författarna har en utländsk affiliation
1- Publicerad utomlands
0- Ingen affiliation med ett företag
AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics
SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
SDG 4 - Quality Education
SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
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