Kyrgyzstan improves hospital safety and resilience in health emergencies

WHO

With its mountainous areas at high risk from earthquakes and floods, Kyrgyzstan was among the first countries in the world to undergo a WHO assessment of its hospital safety with a revised version of the hospital safety index tool. The assessment took place between 27 June and 1 July 2016 in the country, following a similar process conducted in 2010 in 10 major hospitals with a previous version of the tool.

A group of WHO experts trained teams of national specialists in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, and conducted a three day evaluation of 4 main hospitals in Bishkek and in Osh, Jalalabad and Karakol. Teams consisted of a civil engineer, a maintenance engineer, a specialist for emergency planning and a coordinator and were supported by WHO.

The assessment resulted in a hospital safety index based on which each hospital receives detailed recommendations to improve its safety. The Minister of Health requested WHO assistance to assess an additional 6 major hospitals and develop a national action plan to enhance the safety and resilience of hospitals in case of emergencies with a high number of injured. This plan will need financial support from the Government of Kyrgyzstan and the international donor community.

About the hospital safety index

The resilience of health facilities, and particularly hospitals, during and after emergencies is a critical component of saving lives, and reducing deaths and diseases in the population affected by crises. The hospital safety index, developed by WHO in 2008, assesses 4 main factors which can impair the resilience of a hospital, including surrounding hazards, and structural, non-structural and functional components.

The tool aims at providing a globally comparable index describing the relative safety of a hospital and recommendations to remain operational on maximum capacity in emergency situations. In 2015, the hospital safety index was revised to better correspond to the resilience of health facilities as required in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.