Keywords: hospitals, disaster preparedness, earthquakes, emergency response, emergency management, hospital personnel, hospital response, medical response planning, public health
Disaster preparedness and response: a challenge for hospitals in earthquake-prone countries
An effective and immediate response from hospital personnel is critical to meet the needs of affected populations at the time of an earthquake disaster. Hospitals need to develop, practise and continuously update an effective disaster/emergency medical response plan. Communities and impacted regions cannot depend on immediate medical and humanitarian aid from other outside sources to meet medical care needs during the first three to five days following an earthquake. How hospitals in earthquake-prone countries such as India, Pakistan and Haiti can improve their medical response is discussed. This discussion of methods to improve effective disaster response of the medical and public health community includes a description of important efforts to enhance hospital accreditation, increase personnel training, and use a response capacity checklist.