World Health Day

How to safeguard health facilities


Assess the safety of existing facilities

Problem

Many existing health facilities have not been built with safety and resilience in mind. They remain hazardous for the people inside them and could fail if an emergency occurs. Too often, assessments of the structure and emergency preparedness of the health facility are either not carried out or are done in an ad hoc and inappropriate manner. Without an understanding of a hospital's vulnerabilities, staff and patients are invariably left at risk as the chances are higher that the facility will not be able to cope in an emergency.

Solution

  • Assess the safety and functionality of facilities that are already built and operational by employing competent health facility design experts, engineers, architects and builders and health emergency personnel
  • Identify structural, non-structural, functional and other deficiencies in safety and emergency preparedness through proper assessments. They should suggest areas that need to be addressed that could involve protection of equipment, development and testing of emergency response plans, retrofitting or complete reconstruction
  • Conduct safety assessments to ensure that appropriate infection control measures are in place in health facilities – including the availability of personal protective equipment for staff and the means to isolate patients
  • Act on the findings of assessments for the safety of the staff and patients
  • Ensure that appropriate infection control measures are followed, such as using alcohol hand-rub when the water supply is interrupted.
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