World Health Day

How to safeguard health facilities


Build partnerships for safe health facilities

Problem

When developing health facilities, there is often a lack of coordination between health officials, funding sources, architects and builders. Also, health services are further threatened when a health facility has no partnerships or formal agreements with other community entities on which the facility depends, such as other hospitals, emergency services, utility suppliers, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations and the private sector.

Solution

  • Build close working relationships between government decision-makers and planners, architects, engineers, builders and financial institutions to create new safe health facilities and to assess existing ones to ensure that they can withstand hazards and provide health care in emergencies
  • Form multisectoral committees to plan and implement safety measures
  • Establish working partnerships with and among health facility managers and health service providers, as well as with emergency services and local authorities. Such partnerships must be based on the need to assist each other during times of emergency and on the understanding that it is vital to keep health facilities functional during a crisis. Patient triage, referral and evacuation systems are essential components of viable emergency and mass casualty management plans.

Investment in safely built multifunctional facilities for health, education, agriculture and other community services has provided shelter and protection for Bangladeshi communities in cyclones and floods. Many thousands of lives in Bangladesh were saved when Cyclone Sidr struck in 2007, compared to the more than 140 000 killed in 1991 when a cyclone of similar strength hit the country.

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