Health facilities are among the quake’s casualties, complicating relief efforts
Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 2010 (PAHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is mobilizing health experts to assess the impact of yesterday’s earthquake on the health situation in Haiti and working with other United Nations agencies, international partners, and local authorities to mobilize and coordinate relief and recovery efforts focused on the quake’s survivors.
In addition to causing unknown deaths and injuries, the 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed or severely damaged at least eight health facilities, including at least four hospitals (see PAHO Situation Report). Compensating for the lost health services will be a key part of the relief response, noted Dr. Jon Andrus, PAHO’s Deputy Director, in a press briefing today.
Andrus noted that other immediate health priorities include:
Among the lessons he cited were:
“The additional cost of building hospitals to be disaster-safe is marginal,” said Dr. Andrus, “and so is the cost of retrofitting existing facilities. Most important, these costs are negligible in comparison with the cost of a failed hospital. Donor countries and organizations should keep this mind for Haiti’s longer term recovery.”
PAHO was established in 1902 and is the world’s oldest public health organization. It works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of the people of the Americas and serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).
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