Pan American Sanitary Conference Requests Countries to Build Safe Hospitals

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In January 2008, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and the World Health Organization will launch the Global Campaign on Disaster Reduction whose theme is hospitals safe from disasters. The Campaign will build on progress to date in Latin America and the Caribbean, and indeed in other regions of the world. ISDR and PAHO/WHO will partner with organizations, agencies, and individuals worldwide to raise awareness and redouble efforts to protect health facilities and ensure they can function during and in the aftermath of disasters.

In light of the importance of the subject, the 27th Pan American Sanitary Conference, celebrated 1-5 October in Washington, D.C. with the presence of the Ministers of Health of all American countries, passed a resolution requesting countries to take political and technical measures to considerably reduce the risk of disasters in the Region, and contribute to achieve the integral safety of hospitals, including the safety of patients and health personnel. The resolution urges Member States to: ensure that a specific entity in each ministry of health has the responsibility to develop a disaster risk reduction program; actively support the ISDR safe hospital campaign; develop national policies on safe hospitals; and promote the inclusion of risk reduction as part of the accreditation process for health facilities. The complete resolution can be consulted at www.paho.org/english/gov/csp/csp27.r14-e.pdf.

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