Fukushima to manage evacuees’ health via electronic data

In an effort to prevent deaths caused by prolonged evacuation as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the Fukushima prefectural government will manage information on the health of evacuees via electronic data, such as the mental and physical conditions of those living in temporary housing, starting in fiscal 2015. Social workers keeping an eye out for problems in residents’ daily lives and providing consultations will share individual information including evacuees’ living conditions and chronic illnesses, and aim to provide mental and physical care in cooperation with medical institutions. The project will be implemented for about 71,000 evacuees such as those living in temporary housing and municipally subsidized rental housing in Fukushima. The prefecture will be divided into five zones – northern Fukushima, central/southern Fukushima, Aizu, Soso (Soma and Futaba) and Iwaki – and about 70 social workers will be assigned to each zone. The social workers will visit the evacuees in pairs at their homes to survey their health and living conditions. Information obtained from such visits will be computerized into electronic data and shared among senior social workers and regional managers. In the case of suspected illness or concern about mental and physical health, they will refer the cases to local medical institutions, municipal healthcare centers, the Fukushima Center for Disaster Mental Health or other appropriate organizations for follow-up.