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Every Casualty presentation at the Royal Society of Medicine

First published 18th Apr 2013

On Friday 12th April, Every Casualty presented at the Royal Society of Medicine Conflict and Catastrophes Forum's Annual Medicine Overseas Conference, 'Research and Response in the Middle of Chaos'. The presentation is summarised here.

The conference looked, among other themes, at different techniques for information gathering in 'complex emergencies' (a situation where an emergency humanitarian response has to be conducted in a difficult political or security environment, such as an armed conflict); how information gathering can be integrated into the existing activities of those already working to respond to such emergencies; and what the benefits of gathering this information are, to developing better responses to emergencies.

In a session on 'Growth of Research and Associated Accountability Mechanisms' Elizabeth Minor, Research Officer of the Every Casualty Programme at Oxford Research Group, discussed:

  • The range of practice in the field of casualty recording, as found in our recent study into casualty recording practice. Our research showed that different ways of recording casualties may be possible at different stages of conflict, and offer different levels of certainty or confirmation of information, but that all can potentially be useful to those wishing to assist communities affected by conflict. For an explanation of the range of casualty recording, see the Policy Paper we produced from our study, or watch this presentation.
  • The importance of case-by-case, detailed casualty data for public health analysis. Detailed 'what, where, when' information can be useful to humanitarian responders (see the Policy Paper for a discussion of this). Analysis of the information produced through casualty recording can also show the impacts of different kinds of weapons or violence on civilians and combatants. One example of this kind of analysis is International Practitioner Network member Iraq Body Count's analysis 'The Weapons That Kill Civilians', published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009. This type of analysis can be significant for advocacy, or the development of policy to reduce conflict's impact on civilians for example. 
  • The role of health professionals and institutions in casualty recording. These were a key source across the range of casualty recording practice, as discussed in our paper 'The Range of Sources in Casualty Recording', from the practitioner-focused collection 'Good Practice in Casualty Recording' produced from our recent study.