Technical knowledge and experience have taught us that it is possible to reduce to a minimum the risks and damage caused by disasters if preventive measures are incorporated early in the design, construction and maintenance of new health facilities. What this complex issue needs now is greater visibility in political and development agendas in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This is the premise of the soon-to-be published Guidelines for Vulnerability Reduction in the Design of New Health Facilities (see page 8 of the special supplement) for those responsible for management, design, construction and inspection of new health facilities projects.
The current publication is an overview of those guidelines and includes recommendations on how to promote their use among national authorities, planners and financing agencies involved in the development of these projects. It emphasizes the substantial social and economic benefits of applying disaster mitigation measures to the design, planning and construction of health facilities. Equally important, it describes how to apply these measures to achieve protection levels that not only ensure human safety but also the security of infrastructure and the continuity of services.
This document is online at: www.paho.org/disasters (select Publications Catalog).