ADPC organized a four-day intensive course on Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies (HOPE) from 28 September to 1 October 2017 in Vadodara, Gujarat State, India. HOPE was conducted as part of a greater regional project, which looks at Strengthening Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies in South Asian Countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The project is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).
The intensive four-day course was aimed at enhancing the capacity of public hospitals and other medical institutions to respond to and to provide critical medical services during emergencies. Medical colleges were also in attendance. During the course, ADPC and its partners, including the Indian Medical Association, the Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM), and the Institute of Disasters, Emergencies, and Accidents (IDEA), explored several key management functions related to medical emergency preparedness and response. This included the principles of disaster medicine, hospital internal disasters, and complex emergencies, among several others.
Making hospitals more resilient
"The initiative can make a difference in making hospitals resilient, and solve their purpose of providing aid without fail," says Neelay Shrivastava, director of IDEA, an organization which analyzes hazard risks and vulnerabilities for 11 member states on behalf of the World Health Organization South East Asian Regional Office (WHO-SEARO).
Recognizing the significance of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in the health sector, ADPC and its partners envision the sector’s heightened ability to develop a comprehensive multi-hazard disaster risk management framework that will assist hospitals and other institutions to identify potential threats, analyze their vulnerabilities, and develop the capacity to respond to disasters when the need arises. This project is a step towards this goal.
“Emergency departments of hospitals, even without disasters, are already overcrowded and full of patients - especially government hospitals. There will be very little chance that any added victims can be managed properly during a disaster without the proper emergency management systems and plans,” said Mr. John Abo, Chief of Party of HOPE South Asia from ADPC. “It would be very difficult for hospitals to manage mass casualty incidents if daily emergencies are not managed properly,” During disasters, hospitals need to be able to withstand the event,” added Mr. Abo. “Daily cooperation among hospitals will help in times of disaster.’
The fundamental takeaway from the course is that participants would be able to relay the things they’ve learned to their respective health facilities and become an agent of change in improving their level of preparedness. Even merely identifying potential structural vulnerabilities can initiate dialogues in improving their disaster response plans and training staff to be more prepared in the face of disasters. Moreover, the project encourages cooperation and cohesiveness among stakeholders within the health sector as a way of building up their ability to provide needed services during disasters.