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1.  A longitudinal study on the Ghislenghien disaster in Belgium: strengths and weaknesses of the study design and influence on response rate 
Archives of Public Health  2009;67(3):116-127.
Background
A longitudinal study was conducted in order to assess the impact of the Ghislenghien disaster (Belgium) on physical, mental and social health, and to evaluate the prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the affected population.
Objectives
To describe the set up of the study, to report on the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology employed and its influence on response rate. To clarify the importance of the study for the management of disasters.
Methods/Design
The study included adults (≥ 15 years) and children (8-14 years) at risk of developing adverse health effects related to the disaster. Subjects were connected to the disaster through their geographical or professional proximity as well as connections through relatives. Questionnaires were sent by regular mail 5 months and 14 months after the disaster. Pearson Chi square tests were used to investigate whether the response rate at 14 months depended on the exposure classification.
Results
The response rate at household level was respectively 18% (n = 607 families) and 56% (n = 338 families) 5 months and 14 months after the disaster. Response rate at the follow up period did not significantly differ by exposure classification.
Discussion
This paper discusses the difficulties and challenges encountered during the design of the study. It discusses the determinants of response in relation to disaster related characteristics. It further provides an overview of lessons learnt and the significance of the study for the management of large scale emergencies.
doi:10.1186/0778-7367-67-3-116
PMCID: PMC3463017
Technological disaster; exposure classification; gas explosion; longitudinal study; response rate
2.  Access to mental health for asylum seekers in the European Union. An analysis of disparities between legal rights and reality 
Archives of Public Health  2009;67(1):30-44.
The article explores some of the issues surrounding access to mental health care for asylum seekers, using Belgium as a case in point. Asylum and immigration issues have become increasingly pressing in Europe, with member states seeking a common European Asylum System and establishing minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers. The EU measures have fallen short of providing and implementing clear guidelines. Significant discrepancies continue to exist between member states, notably policies on health care for refugees, and in particular mental healthcare. Access to mental health care is identified as crucial, yet for many the right to access is theoretical only, and in reality care is often inaccessible. Access should refer not only to the availability, but also the quality and efficacy of care. Refugees are a particularly vulnerable population, and access in the fullest sense of the term should be an essential element in the reception of asylum seekers.
doi:10.1186/0778-7367-67-1-30
PMCID: PMC3436694
Asylum seeker; refugee; mental health; reception conditions

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