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WHO/Europe strengthens resilience of hospitals during and after emergencies

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Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta: Oxygen bottles fixed to the wall to prevent them from moving or falling. © WHO /Ute Enderlein

118 hospitals in 7 countries in the WHO European Region were assessed using the WHO Hospital Safety Index tool in 2015¬–2016. Altogether, 93 experts – including doctors, civil and maintenance engineers and emergency planning experts – from 14 European and 6 non-European countries were trained.

The Hospital Safety Index is a rapid, reliable way of assessing risk in the health sector. It helps health facilities manage their safety and avoid becoming casualties of disasters. Through it, WHO/Europe has strengthened support to national authorities to build the resilience of health facilities in emergencies.

Hospital safety assessment in the Region

  • The Republic of Moldova assessed all 64 public hospitals and 4 other hospitals in 2015–2016, and embedded the criteria and requirements of the Hospital Safety Index tool into the country’s hospital accreditation process.
  • Kyrgyzstan assessed 36 hospitals, and plans to assess an additional 37 hospitals in 2017.
  • Several Balkan countries and countries in central Asia and the Caucasus have expressed interest in the tool and requested support from WHO/Europe in 2017 and beyond.
  • 4 trainings on the Hospital Safety Index were carried out in Russian in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova and Uzbekistan.
  • 3 trainings were conducted in English in Albania, Malta and Slovakia. The training in Albania involved experts from 5 Balkan countries. The training in Slovakia, which was financially and technically supported by WHO headquarters, enrolled experts from 10 countries, including countries in Europe (Belarus, Belgium, Slovakia and Ukraine), South-East Asia and Africa.

Tailoring the tool to the Region’s needs

Regional assessments and trainings are in line with the Comprehensive Safe Hospital Framework, released by WHO headquarters in 2015. WHO/Europe adapted the generic WHO training tool on Hospital Safety Index assessment to scale up action and meet regional requirements.

Building on these regional and global actions, the safety of hospitals became a global commitment of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was adopted by 187 countries in March 2015.