The Hospital Safety Index, developed by PAHO/WHO in 2008, is a tool that determines the probability that a hospital will continue to function during and after a disaster. It has already been used in 32 countries and territories in the Americas. The results given by the tool allow for the establishment of priorities for interventions to improve the safety of health facilities in cases of disasters.

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As a result of the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010, more than 50 health facilities were destroyed or damaged and 200,000 individuals required medical attention and emergency care. Beyond the seismic risk, every year hurricanes continue to cause many casualties in Haiti, while health facilities located in affected areas become inaccessible or unusable due to floods.

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The heavy rains at the beginning of 2012 in Peru forced the government to declare a state of national emergency in 18 regions of the country. One of the most affected was the Loreto region, in the country’s northeast. The population’s vulnerability increased as a result of the collapse of the sanitation systems. In addition, the extending area of dispersion of pathogen agents increased the probability of transmission of diseases from river waters.

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Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

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