Over the past two decades, disaster risk management has shifted from centralised to people-centred approaches, focusing on reducing infectious disease risks in affected communities. Professor Andrew Collins from Northumbria University’s Disaster and Development Network has significantly influenced policies and improved development practices in Mozambique and public health facilities in schools in Nairobi, Kenya. His research emphasises the importance of engaging local communities in disaster preparedness and highlights the need for better physical and institutional infrastructure in disaster-prone areas. Collins’ work focuses on reducing vulnerabilities through collaborative solutions co-designed with local communities. It aims to decrease vulnerability to disasters and associated disease risks by integrating indigenous knowledge into risk assessment and management.

This research on infectious disease risk management has shown that recognising socioeconomic and behavioural influences and pathogenic and environmental hazards reveals varying risks in different places over time. Collins’ projects in marginalised communities prioritise generating multiple data types that amplify the people-centred approach and challenge the orthodoxies that govern data collection by international agencies. Action data, coined by Collins, refers to data that effect change and forms a central pillar of the strategy for achieving the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This health-focused, people-centred approach has been co-developed by Northumbria University as part of its Disaster and Development Network in collaboration with various UN agencies, and local NGOs, supporting local communities and marginalised groups to improve disaster preparedness through increased social cohesion, education, and sanitation. The impact case study and results are now available online and submitted as part of the REF 2021 review. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It first occurred in 2014 and 2021, with the following exercise planned for 2029).



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