Guidelines for Vulnerability Reduction in the Design of New Health Facilities

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Pan American Health Organization, Area on Emergency Preparadness and Disaster Relief, 2004 - Medical - 106 pages
When struck by large-scale natural disasters, hospital services are often interrupted temporarily or permanently, mainly due to damage to their infrastructure, causing loss of capital investment, and impacting on the wellbeing and socio-economic development of the population and the country. In recent years, various PAHO/WHO member states have managed to reduce the vulnerability of their hospitals. Even countries with limited financial resources can provide hospitals and other health facilities that are resistant to earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural hazards. This publication puts forward three levels of protection: (1) life safety - ensuring that the building will not collapse and that any injuries that occur will not put the lives of patients and staff at risk; (2) investment protection - significantly reducing structural and non-structural damage; and (3) functional protection - guaranteeing that the facilities will continue to operate with a minimum of disruption. Experience has shown that applying these levels of protection to the construction of a new hospital adds only four per cent to the total cost of the project. Applying innovative approaches when designing and selecting the site of a new facility can improve its safety and efficiency without significantly increasing overall costs.

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