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Mitigation Experts Available to Advise on Safe Hospitals

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The Disaster Mitigation Advisory Group (DiMAG) is an international, not-for-profit body of experts that is available to provide advice and services to PAHO/WHO member countries on risk and vulnerability reduction projects in the health sector. Learn more about the DiMAG and what it has to offer.

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What is the DiMAG?

The Disaster Mitigation Advisory Group (DiMAG) is an international, not-for-profit body of experts from Latin America and the Caribbean, supported by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). The DiMAG is available to provide advice and services to PAHO/WHO Member Governments—at their request—on risk and vulnerability reduction projects in the health sector. Although the DiMAG’s expertise focuses on health sector issues, the Group is composed of experts from many disciplines—engineering, architecture, disaster management, emergency services, economics and others—with a proven track record of working in developing countries.
The DiMAG works both prior to and following a range of natural and manmade disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes and torrential rains, storm surges, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, floods, fire and explosions.

What does the DiMAG offer?

At the request of Member States, the DiMAG can provide independent advice on general matters of disaster vulnerability and risk reduction in the health sector and health facilities such as:

  • Reviewing terms of reference for design, standards, and construction of disaster-
    resilient health facilities at the pre-conception stage and proposing quality assurance mechanisms.
  • Advocating for independent reviews of the design and construction of hospitals (check consultants).
  • Making recommendations on topics to be included in undergraduate and post-graduate university curricula to raise awareness about risk reduction and impart technical skills.
  • Serving as resource experts or facilitators at capacity building events related to disaster mitigation.
  • Assessing national norms and standards or advising on the development of health sector mitigation policies.
  • Providing advice on the management of health infrastructure projects (without being part of the project team).
  • Conducting post-disaster evaluations of health facilities and recommending suitable courses of action.
  • Contributing to or reviewing PAHO/WHO technical publications.

How does the DiMAG operate?

  • The membership of DiMAG is multidisciplinary, by invitation from PAHO/WHO, which serves as the DiMAG’s Secretariat.
  • The DiMAG meets annually. Any DiMAG member may call for an ad hoc meeting to address specific issues.
  • Costs related to assessment missions by DiMAG members (transportation, per diem, related costs) will be covered by the requesting country or institution. DiMAG members do not receive a salary or other compensation for short consultations at the pre-project stage, thus maintaining independence and neutrality.
  • All information resulting from DiMAG missions will be handled in a confidential manner.

DiMAG contributions to safe hospitals

  • Helping to develop the Hospital Safety Index, a diagnostic tool to assess a health facility’s level of safety and promoting its use in the Americas and through other WHO regional and country offices.
  • Contributing to the development of new Caribbean Basin Wind Hazard Maps to guide engineers when designing and evaluating risk in critical facilities such as hospitals and health clinics.
  • Serving as members of PAHO and WHO rapid response teams for post-disaster diagnostic assessments of health facilities.
  • Preparing an extensive assessment report of the concept of ‘Turn-key’ projects for public health facilities.

Why was the DiMAG created?

The DiMAG grew out of a 2003 international meeting on disaster mitigation for health facilities. It was conceived as a technical resource to which Ministries of Health could turn for advice when building new health facilities or renovating, expanding or retrofitting existing facilities. It was created to address the fact that:

  • New hospitals continue to be designed and built without due consideration of the risk of natural hazards.
  • Many existing hospitals perform unsatisfactorily in disaster and emergency situations; health services must be able to continue functioning.
  • Countries and institutions must be able to count on independent technical advice.

Where to request DiMAG’s support

Governments, ministries of health or other health organizations may request support from the DiMAG by contacting any PAHO/WHO country office in Latin America and the Caribbean or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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