Answers to some commonly-asked questions

Much has been written about hospitals safe from disasters, thanks to interest generated by the World Campaign on this very issue. PAHO has prepared answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions we have received. The list will be updated as new questions arise.

What is a safe hospital?

A 'safe hospital' is an facility whose services remain accessible and functioning at maximum capacity and within the same infrastructure immediately following a natural disaster. The term ‘safe hospital’ encompasses all health facilities, regardless of their level of complexity. A hospital is ‘safe’ when it enjoys the highest level of protection possible, when access routes to the health facility are open and when the water supply and electric power and telecommunications can continue supplying the health facility, thus guaranteeing continuity of operations and the ability to absorb the additional demand for medical care.

What are the objectives of a ‘safe hospitals’ program?  

 What strategies guide a ‘safe hospitals’ program? 

How can we reduce the vulnerability of health facilities? 


     The vulnerability of a health facility and the health services network in general can be reduced by carrying out a functional diagnosis, identifying priorities components, including aspects of vulnerability and risk reduction in national processes of accreditation, certification and licensing in the health facilities and ensuring the availability of essential resources for the hospital’s response in disasters.

What else should be included in a ‘safe hospitals’ program? 

What kind of follow-up is needed?