WHO laucnhes campaign to make hospitals safe from disasters

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New Delhi, Apr 15 (UNI) The World Health Organisation today launched World Disaster Reduction Campaign on Hospitals Safe from Disasters" to reduce risk, protect health and save lives during calamities like earthquakes, cyclone and floods.

The campaign launched in association with the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and the World Bank has urged countries to make hospitals disaster resilient so that health workforce continues providing care when disasters strike.

WHO is advocating for making in hospitals safe from disasters and this could be done at a very very low cost by involving health workers and community leaders in the risk reduction. Disasters are health issues, but the loss of a hospital is more than a health problem. Health workers and community leaders must be involved in risk reduction.

The most costly hospital is the one that fails! Functional collapse, not structural damage, is the usual reason for hospitals being put out of service during emergencies, it pointed out.

The good news is that making new hospitals and health facilities safe from disasters is not costly. Incorporating mitigation measures into the design and construction of a new hospital is estimated to account for less than 4 per cent of the total initial investment.

Creating safe hospitals is as much about having vision and commitment as it is about actual resources.

"The health sector must play a pivotal role in disaster reduction at the local, national and international level for many reasons, including the protection of infrastructure and delivery of health care when they are most needed." said Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director, South-East Asia.

In South-East Asia, hundreds of hospitals and health facilities are damaged every year by natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. Millions of people are left without access to health facilities during and after disasters.

The South-East Asia Regional Office of WHO is bringing experts, professionals and practitioners to a three day regional consultation to increase awareness on the issue. These experts will also identify opportunities to strengthen risk reduction and preparedness in health facilities during and beyond the two-year World Disaster Reduction Campaign.

UNI AJ AKJ VC1847

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