Hospitals are vulnerable to all types of natural hazards, and although we are more apt to recall the dramatic images of a health facility that has collapsed following an earthquake, floods can pose just as serious a threat. This new PAHO/WHO publication (Spanish only) looks at the most common health effects of floods. Additionaly, it provides technical recommendations to prevent, mitigate, retrofit and reconstruct vulnerable health infrastructure which are at risk or have been affected by floods. Not only will these interventions reduce the impact of a disaster, they will also improve the response, particularly in times of crises when hospitals are needed most.
This publication points to ways to incorporate disaster mitigation measures into both existing hospitals and new health facilities in the design and construction stage. The emphasis lies on protecting a building as it relates to its environment by analyzing potential risks and vulnerabilities. Although it was written for technical and managerial health personnel, it is also useful for administrators, directors, engineers and architects responsible for the operation and maintenance of health facilities.
The book can be downloaded from the Publications Catalog at www.paho.org/disasters. A limited number of print copies will be available through the CRID.