Conference Paper Communicating medical-related information in the wake of Fukushima Daiichi Accident: An analysis of scientific journal papers published in the first three years

Kwan-Hoong, Ng  ,  Chan-Yuan, Wong  ,  Ai-Peng Koh,  ,  Kanda, Reiko  ,  Kemp, Ray

This study attempts to answer these questions: “What role did communication of medicalrelated information play in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident?” and “What challenges were faced by health risk communication as reported by scholarly papers?”A total of 443 medical- and health-related journal papers published in the first three years (2011-2014) of the accident were retrieved from the Scopus database and subsequently 36 papers related to communication of disaster, health and risk information were selected for analysis. It was found that several different types of healthcare providers such as surgeons,psychiatrists, nurses, counsellors, dietitians, and public health workers were actively involved with disaster relief work following the Fukushima accident in 2011. In particular, the United States and United Kingdom dispatched disaster response teams to provide guidance on health and medical issues to their embassies and citizens in Japan. Analysis of the material revealsevidence of a communication lapse in information sharing as well as misinformation resulting in confusion, anxiety, stress, fear, and mistrust.The important role of health risk communication has been recognized in medical responses, disaster and emergency management and recovery, radiation protection, and many valuable lessons have been learned. The authors make recommendations to develop effective health risk communication strategies; education and awareness; dialog and information sharing between different experts, policy makers, general public, and journalists; use of social media;and in the use of plain language.

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