Recently, the topic of safe hospitals has become commonplace at national and international meetings, as health authorities and other experts stress the importance of safeguarding these key facilities from the devastating effects of disasters. The Ministry of Health of Peru, with support from PAHO and the Civil Defense, has published the first national guide in the Americas on the subject. Guidelines for Protecting Health Facilities from Natural Disasters (Spanish only) presents criteria, elements and recommendations to be followed during the planning, construction and actual use of health facilities so that they remain operational following disasters. It is based on Peru’s experiences in mitigation, rehabilitation and reconstruction before and after the El Niño phenomenon of 1991 and the earthquake of 2001. It is imperative for countries to adapt international design and construction standards to their own needs in order to protect lives and the investment in this infrastructure. This publication is a step in the right direction.
The guidelines can be downloaded from: http://bvs.minsa.gob.pe/archivos/MINSA/desastres/ (click on 109_guiasdesas.pdf).