WHO-PAHO Guidelines for the Use of Foreign Field Hospitals

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Disasters, whether natural or complex, can outstrip the capacity of the local health system to provide the required care, either because of a massive number of casualties or as a result of damage to healthcare infrastructure. As a consequence, both affected and collaborating countries try to find ways to facilitate medical care to the affected population. One potential solution could be a mobile field hospital, yet there have been mixed reports regarding the cost-effectiveness of such efforts, particularly in developing countries.

These perceived shortcomings prompted the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization to convene a meeting of experts to review guidelines regarding when it is appropriate to dispatch or donate a foreign field hospital. Presented in a clear, easy-to-consult format, the 20-page guidelines outline essential requirements and additional, or optional criteria for field hospitals used for emergency medical care during the first 48 hours; for follow-up trauma and medical care up to two weeks after the disaster; and for donated facilities that can remain on site for several years. The guidelines also pose questions to ask and issues to clarify before a field hospital is dispatched or accepted. The highlights of these guidelines also have been incorporated into a brochure for widespread distribution.

A limited number of print copies of the guidelines is available from the Editor at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Request the brochure at the same address or download the full-text of both at www.paho.org/disasters (click on Publications Catalog).

 

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

525 23rd Street, N.W. - Washington, D.C. 20037, U.S.A.
202.974.3399 - Fax 202.775.4578 - disaster@paho.org - www.paho.org/disasters