|Disasters Preparedness and Mitigation - Issue No. 01 - January, 1979 (PAHO-OPS, 1979, 8 p.)|
The Pan American Health Organization initiated a long term program for emergency preparedness and disaster relief coordination in March 1977 to assist Member Countries in improving predisaster planning in the health sector.
The services available at present or in the near future include:
a) Advisory services by PAHO experts or short term consultants in the field of public health and disease control, water supply and sanitation, medical and nursing care, health planning and administration, management of medical supplies, information systems, etc., before or during emergency situations;
b) Training of officials in charge of disaster preparedness or relief coordination in the health sector of Member Countries by means of seminars and fellowships;
c) Preparation of guides and manuals on disaster management on, for instance, public health management following natural disasters; medical and nursing care of mass casualties following earthquakes; water supply and sanitation in urban areas affected by natural disasters; request, sorting and distribution of relief supplies; and communicable diseases during natural disasters;
d) Technical cooperation in, and support of national or regional multidisciplinary seminars on disaster assessment and management;
e) Compilation, translation, abstraction and dissemination of relevant articles, journals and reports on disasters;
f) Promotion and technical support of research activities on disaster preparedness, assessment of needs and evaluation of the effectiveness of relief operations;
g) Preparation of training material and visual aids for regional and national courses on public health in disasters;
h) organization of a Latin American 2-week course on public health management in the aftermath of natural disasters. This annual course, contingent upon appropriate funding, will start late 1979.
On a long term basis PAHO is promoting and supporting the development of a specialized administrative-technical unit under the Ministry of Health in highly disaster-prone countries. The unit Will act as focal point for the predisaster planning and coordination of national and international relief activities in the health sector.