In South America, Andean Institutions and Disaster Coordinators Adopt Disaster Strategy, Call for Safe Hospitals
Posted in Issue 100 August 2005 Member Countries
At the annual meeting of ministers of health of the Andean countries (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela), delegates paid particular attention to disaster issues, approving the content of a health sector disaster preparedness and response strategic plan 2005-2010 and adopting the motto “safe hospitals in disaster situations” as an Andean risk reduction policy. They emphasized the importance of building new hospitals and health facilities with a level of protection that ensures their functionality in disaster situations and implementing the appropriate mitigation measures to reduce risk to existing facilities.
The Plan grew out of interagency work sessions (attended by representatives from the offices of external relations and disasters in the ministries of health; CAPRADE, the Andean Region Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee; the IFRC; the Convenio Hipólito Unánue and PAHO/WHO) which identified common needs, developed a strategic plan and mechanisms to achieve results.
At a subsequent meeting, CAPRADE adopted the health sector strategic plan as part of the Andean disaster reduction strategy. This will provide a framework in which countries can conduct joint exercises, support regional response teams for damage and needs assessment, epidemiological surveillance, and more; and strengthen disaster preparedness in the health sector.
Among the first steps countries will take to strengthen the health sector to respond to emergencies is to prepare or update their own health sector plans and promote health service networks under the concept of “safe hospitals.” The countries will also look at developing knowledge, research, and information management by promoting risk management training in educational institutions.