Balkan countries improve their ability to keep hospital safe during emergencies


Five Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – are boosting their skills to improve hospital safety and reduce human and economic losses during disasters and health emergencies. This is resulting from a WHO/Europe’s extensive training of experts in Tirana, Albania, from 9 to 13 October 2016.

“We hope the training will reduce the risks of losing functionality of hospitals during disasters and mitigate the suffering of people affected by disasters”, said Dr Nazira Artykova, the WHO Representative in Albania in her opening speech.

Balkan countries are challenged by frequent natural disasters such as earthquakes and severe flooding that have the potential to cause injuries, deaths, population displacements, destruction of health facilities and disruption of health care services. Thus capacity building and trainings become imperative at all levels to prepare for an emergency: from knowledge sharing to ensuring health care services are safe, effective and available to those in need.

The trainings come after WHO launched the Hospital Safety Index (2nd Edition) in 2015, which is an assessment tool for safety and preparedness of hospitals, and released the Comprehensive Safe Hospital Framework that guides the development and implementation of the Safe Hospital programmes at national, subnational and facility levels. 

The Balkan training brought together 20 directors of hospitals, medical doctors, experts on emergency preparedness and response as well as Ministry of Health officials. WHO will continue to assist Balkan countries and improve the skills of necessary experts to carry out full hospital assessments in the coming years.