In the framework of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction meeting, held in Geneva (see next page), WHO and PAHO organized a workshop on disaster risk reduction in health facilities and the health sector to call attention to the serious effects that emergencies, disasters and other crises have on health and the impact they have on development.

The timing of this meeting was particularly oportune, since WHO and PAHO have joined forces with the ISDR to launch the 2008-2009 world campaign for disaster reduction, dedicated to Safe Hospitals. The campaign will focus on all health facilities—big and small—to ensure that these critical installations remain functional during and after disaster situations.

The meeting included examples from the island nation of Grenada and from Nepal on the impact of disasters in health facilities, and on why mitigation measures should be included during the planning, reconstruction and rehabilitation of health facilities. The Director of Emergency Services from the Philippines cited advances made in his country to organize the health sector and avoid the interruption of these services during a disaster. Finally, the Safety Index for Hospitals, which has been tested in several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, was presented and offered as an instrument to assess the progress. For more information contact Patricia Bittner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..