Hospitals Should be Safe from Disasters
Reduce Risk, Protect Health Facilities, Save Lives
Every year, many hospitals and health facilities in the country are damaged and destroyed by disasters to which the Philippines has a very high vulnerability. However, the government through the Department of Health has been nonstop in its efforts to ensure that our countrymen are not left without the vital care that they need in the midst of these catastrophes.
“The price to pay for the failure of health care facilities when disasters happen is too high in comparison to the cost of making these safe and resilient." Recent disaster experiences in the Bicol and Visayas Region and in earlier years in the Quezon Province highlight the tremendous impact that disasters can have on health facilities and local health systems.
The health sector is filled with highly trained, committed, and dedicated personnel who are ready to deliver healthcare especially in times of great suffering and need. To achieve and maintain quality of health care during health emergencies, these personnel will have to be supported by enabling them to work in safe health facilities where they can do what they do best --- save lives and limit injuries among disaster victims.
Among the objectives of the global campaign for "Hospitals Safe from Disasters" is to reinforce both the structural and non-structural resilience of health care facilities and to ensure that they continue to function after a disaster strikes. The first points to structures in safe geographical locations while the latter refers to health personnel and emergency preparedness plans which will keep hospitals operational in the wake of disasters.
By applying current knowledge and exercising strong political leadership, it is possible to protect health facilities from disasters, even in resource-constrained settings like the Philippines. The Hyogo Framework for Action calls for government support to ensure that existing and new health care facilities will be re-structured or engineered to remain functional at the height of an emergency.
Therefore, I commend the Steering Committee and Technical Working Groups who painstakingly labored in consolidating indicators into this manual that will guide all Hospital Administrators in the pursuit of one vision - to make every hospital safe from disaster and accessible at all times for all disaster victims. Likewise, this Manual signifies the continuing partnership between the Department of Health, World Health Organization, and other members of the health sector in making our health system strong, reliable and resilient for the Filipino people.
FRANCISCO T. DUQUE III, MD, Msc. Secretary of Health