6. Protecting health services infrastructure

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6 proteccion de infraAll new hospitals should be built with a level of protection that ensures that they can continue to operate in disaster situations. Existing facilities, particularly those that provide primary and emergency care, should implement adequate mitigation measures. This requires timely action regarding all new investments in the health area.

Protecting new health facilities from disasters

In a country with a moderate to high frequency of natural disasters, risk management should be incorporated in the initial phase of discussions and political negotiations with funding sources for construction of new health facilities, as well as in the planning, design, and construction of these facilities. Not only will this have a positive social impact, but also a positive cost-benefit, since it protects capital investment and makes development more sustainable.

Lessons learned from previous disasters point to the fact that most losses of health services infrastructure have been due to the fact that the facilities were located in vulnerable areas, were inadequately designed, or were not properly maintained. This is partly a function of building standards for health facilities, which should take into account the survival of staff and patients as well as be rigorous enough to ensure that the facilities can continue to function after a disaster. See chapter 4 of the Guidelines for vulnerability reduction in the design of new health facilities for vulnerability reduction mechanisms that must be incorporated in the different phases of the project cycle.

Because hospitals and other health facilities are complex institutions, professionals from a wide variety of disciplines must participate in the project planning and design of facilities that are disaster resilient. Consult chapter 5 of Guidelines for vulnerability reduction in the design of new health care facilities regarding the professional requirements for experts who should be involved in health facility design and construction.

Building Safe Hospitals

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