2.7. Resources

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recursosNo plan can be effective if human, natural, and financial resources are not in place for operation. A health disaster plan should take account resources in the sector’s institutions. A national disaster plan should also consider potential resources by civil society and international organizations that are active in the country and linked to the health sector.

Available resources should include specialized personnel, physical facilities, equipment and supplies, and financial resources to ensure plan’s operations in its various stages.


2.7.1 Personnel

personalA national program for disaster management requires multidisciplinary personnel which will advise the program’s national coordinator. The coordinator should be a health professional with knowledge of emergency and disaster management, and leadership skills.

The multidisciplinary technical team should include professionals from the following disciplines:

  • Epidemiology: for disease surveillance and control.
  • Water and sanitary engineering: for issues of water supply and basic sanitation.
  • Hospital administrator: to support hospital preparedness and response.
  • Information systems: to provide support for IT and computer network.
  • Logistics: management of drugs and supplies.
  • Mental health: early care for the victims.
  • Public health: medical and health care in temporary shelters or camps, and food and nutrition.
  • Social communication: for public information and media relations.

medical and health care in temporary shelters or camps, and food and nutrition.

Apart from their technical skills, the profiles of the people making up the team, which will become the disaster response team, should have the capacity to work in extreme and stressful situations, have available time, is teamwork-oriented, and should easily adapt to unconventional arrangements for lodging, food, transportation, and working hours. In addition, program staff, individually or as a team, must be able to interact with professionals, technical personnel, and field staff from other disciplines and sectors, including both national and international institutions. This requires ability for dialogue and interaction, often in a multicultural environment.

Therefore, the selection of program staff, and their ongoing training, is of particular importance.


2.7.2 Equipment and supplies

equipos suministrosIn the preparedness phase, a list of potential needs should be identified for each type of disaster, and their potential sources of supplies.

a) Drugs and medical supplies: Although it is not recommended that each health facility have large stocks of drugs, because of the risk of expiration, the Ministry of Health should take measures in case of emergencies. Storing drugs in geographic locations or strategic locations, with expeditious procedures for getting them to wherever they are needed.

Useful frameworks are considered essential and potentially necessary in emergency situations (WHO’s list of drugs).

b) Equipment: The preparedness phase should also ensure the availability of the equipment needed for the functioning of the Emergency Operations Center, as well as portable equipment for the mobile teams and provisions for their transportation and communications. The OEC should be established during the preparedness phase, and provided with computers and television screens, communications equipment (e.g.internet, satellite links), demographic information, maps, essential directories, a geographic information system, alternate electrical power sources, etc.

c) Management of supplies: The overwhelming quantities of humanitarian assistance that often arrive in countries affected by a disaster, and the huge range of other items (drugs, equipment, clothes, food etc.), require country capacity to organize anticonvulsants-info.com, storage, and distribution of items to the affected population. To facilitate this, PAHO has a specialized logistics system known as LSS/SUMA that countries use to manage humanitarian supplies.


2.7.3 Funding

financiamientoNational disaster programs need financial resources for their preparedness and response activities, but most developing countries have limited financial resources to address the most urgent needs that arise in major emergency situations.

The national health sector program should have budget allocation allows itself to urgently meet the needs of the population, without undergoing a challenging bureaucratic process.

Funding for the health sector disaster management activities should be budgeted prior to the occurrence of a disaster, and should include the following areas:

  1. Budget for mitigation measures before a disaster.
  2. Budget for the operation of the preparedness and response program. This must cover staff salaries, equipment, transportation, training and operating costs for transporting the technical team in an emergency.
  3. Budget for implementation of the plan. This includes purchase of items such as medicines, drugs, emergency supplies and equipment, to serve the affected population.

Some countries have an emergency, disaster or catastrophe fund available for responding to immediate needs. However, experience has shown that regulatory and administrative mechanisms for the use of these resources are not always expeditious.

The health sector needs to have a special fund, since response time to the immediate needs of the affected population can make a life and death difference. Although the health ministry budgets cover the program’s operating expenses (particularly salaries), they do not provide for operationing expenses in emergencies situations to cover procurement, contingencies, mobilization of personnel, or temporary staff hiring for emergency response.

It is also important that national programs are aware of other sources of emergency funds. These complement the efforts of affected countries as they address urgent needs in the emergency phase. One such fund is the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The CERF is an important source of support priority action considered as life-saving interventions, such as health care services, water and sanitation, nutritional supplements, logistics, communications, and other protective action for affected populations.

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