|Disaster Mitigation for Health Facilities: Guidelines for Vulnerability Appraisal and Reduction in the Caribbean (Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), 2000, 66 p.)|
Loss of housing, schools, factories and agricultural crops through the impact of natural hazards can have serious implications for national development but, provided these are not accompanied by injury or loss of life, their immediate effects on the well being of the population may not be great.
However health facilities play a critical role in maintaining life during and immediately following natural disasters and it is for this reason that it is extremely important that they have as much protection as modern approaches to mitigation can provide.
In addition, many communities rely on their hospitals and health centres to provide shelter during events, adding to their responsibility to be safe havens when needed.
Over recent years, economic factors have reduced the safety of these buildings as maintenance and improvement programmes have suffered the consequences of becoming low priorities in the allocation of funds. In these circumstances, it has become increasingly important that priorities can be identified and targeted for the use of scarce resources.
The outcome of the application of these guidelines to health facilities will be an assessment of their vulnerability to the impact of the hazards identified and an initial definition of mitigation measures required to minimise this.
However, these guidelines are intended to be used by non-technical health staff working in the health centres and hospitals. These staff would normally have some responsibility for the safety and condition of their buildings but often they are in the hands of technical personnel to carry out the kind of assessments suggested in this book. This book is intended to enable them to participate in an informed way in the identification of priorities and mitigation measures.
Other books on the topic published by PAHO/WHO include:
Disaster Mitigation Guidelines for Hospitals and Other Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean, PAHO, January 1992.
Mitigation of Disasters in Health Facilities, Volumes 1-4, PAHO, 1993.
Pan American Health Organization
Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the
World Health Organization
Office of Caribbean Programme Coordination
P.O. Box 508, Bridgetown, Barbados