Retrospective evaluation of interventions for handling psychological trauma in families affected by the July 11, 2010 terror attacks in Kampala.
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Between 1968 and 2006, global terrorism between was responsible for 35,000 deaths. These deaths seemed senseless and arbitrary, and victims experienced a sense of lack of control (Summit Report, 2008). From this study, the medical reports comfirmed 76 people killed when terrorists struck Kampala City on July 11th 2010. This study explored the nature of psychological trauma, levels of preparedness of service providers, forms of psychological trauma interventions, appropriateness of psychological trauma interventions, and efficacy of psychological trauma interventions. The study was cross sectional descriptive. It employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches. It also applied non-probability sampling techniques: snowball rolling and purposive sampling, to obtain a sample size of 160, including 150 affected individuals within families and 10 key informants, respectively. DSM IV items were used to measure PTSD; 11 items for the forms of interventions, and 5 items for efficacy of interventions, and 5 items for efficacy of interventions. Data was quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed. 1) Nature of psychological trauma suffered: mean for psychological trauma was 95.3%, respectively. 2) mean for levels of preparedness of service providers (81%); 3) observations for forms of psychological trauma interventions: medical (90.7%), psychological (55.3%), compensation (83.3%), culture-related (50%), religious (96%), family (97.3%), group (94%), community (82.7%), security (83.3%), international assistance and legal aid (79.3%); 4) mean for appropriateness of psychological trauma interventions (49.5%); and 5) mean for efficacy of psychological trauma interventions (20.1%). The psychological trauma interventions involved traditional and non-traditional approaches, and primary (medical) and secondary interventions (psychological support services). There were strong linkages between primary and secondary interventions in as far as achievement of efficacy was concerned. Family and religious support were most predominant. Due to high cost of long-term treatment and operational costs, interventions and treatment regimes got shortened by both the service providers and victims; thus, leading to low efficacy (20.1%). On the other hand, the informal interventions lacked expert coordination of efforts towards recovery. Soon both the formal and informal interventions lost efficacy as experiences of uncertainty persisted. There is need to protect citizens from terror-related trauma, to focus more on trauma prevention rather than remedy, to integrate tradition and non-tradition approaches to care, and to make access to care affordable to all. Further research is needed to evaluate interventions made to handle secondary psychological trauma in service providers.