4. Strategies for disaster risk reduction in the health field

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To reduce disaster risk in health, the sector should make every effort to ensure implementation of the following strategies:

Strategies for the reduction of disaster risk in the health sector


Actions to reduce disaster risk in health
  1. Adoption of a national policy  
  - Clear policy on disaster prevention and management. 

- National program for health risk management, taking account of available personnel and resources

  2. Creation and adoption of standards  
  - A legal framework that makes it possible to implement the policy and that helps ensure sustainability of the entities responsible for risk management.

- Standards, procedures, manuals, protocols, and regulations that reduce the health sector’s disaster risk and facilitate work in the network of health facilities.

- Examples: standards in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish only)

  3. Participation and mobilization of other sectors  

- Coordination and cooperation on health issues with regional, subregional, and national agencies that deal with disaster issues, both in the health sector and outside it. Consult the guidelines for the national platforms for disaster risk reduction.

- Disaster reduction incorporated into development activities of other programs and divisions within the ministry of health and in health sector institutions.

- Health disaster management included in the curricula of health sciences, environmental health, engineering, architecture, and other relevant professional areas of study.

- Creating awareness among different societal and community actors regarding health and disasters.

  4. Focus on health services networks  

- Assessment of supply of services in health networks, including their capacity to respond as measured by assessing the health facilities that form them.

- Partnerships for provision of services in disasters involving the different institutions that constitute the health networks.

- Strengthening of referral and cross-referral systems in disaster situations, including pre-hospital care.

  5. Protection of health services infrastructure  

- 'Safe hospitals' strategy inside and outside the health sector.

- Identification of stakeholders involved in planning, design, and construction of health care facilities.

- Improvement of disaster safety in existing health facilities.

- Training of health workers on topics related to disaster risk management (see Educational Opportunities on the home page of this Portal).

  6. Monitoring of progress in the health risk reduction program  

- Definition of criteria, requirements, goals, and indicators.

- Monitoring and oversight mechanisms.

- Documentation of success stories and lessons learned.