6.1. Planning

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planificacionCurrent technological advances and changes in design philosophy and quality assurance standards for construction and infrastructure maintenance make it possible to mitigate damage from natural hazards. However, technical, economic, and political/social limitations make it impossible to reach high levels of protection for all situations.

Therefore, taking into account the characteristics of the health services network, the population’s epidemiological profile, and the available economic resources, it is possible to determine which facilities have a high level of operational safety, and which have well-protected infrastructure (although the latter may not be able to function immediately after an emergency, they can recover within a reasonable timeframe and with controlled costs).

Once the current characteristics of the health care network and the requirements for the new health facility within the network are defined, the new facility’s role in terms of providing health services in normal times and in emergencies must be established. In defining the functions of a health facility in an emergency or disaster, authorities must determine the level at which its operations are protected—in other words, the expected limits of its response capacity to services during the emergency.

Meeting protection goals requires establishing criteria for an intervention plan and for quality assurance. These should be incorporated from planning stage through the final construction of the new facility. To ensure that the criteria are met, technical mechanisms should be devised to facilitate monitoring.