WHO/Europe supports Turkmenistan’s efforts to strengthen hospital preparedness ahead of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games

WHO

Hospitals are essential institutions during emergencies. It is imperative that they remain structurally sound and fully operational in order to save lives and continue providing essential health services to affected communities.

However, hospitals themselves are also vulnerable to disasters. Governing bodies must strengthen hospital safety systems by undertaking structural assessments, securing vital services, updating emergency plans, and implementing capacity-building programmes and exercises to ensure the continuation of health-care services when crises occur.

The Government of Turkmenistan recognizes the importance of safe hospitals and health-care facilities. It requested technical and financial support from WHO/Europe to train national experts to conduct safety assessments using the WHO Hospital Safety Index. The training focused on the facilities that will provide medical services during the upcoming 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG).

In Ashgabat, experts conducted hospital safety assessments in 7 reference hospitals: the Center for Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, the Clinical Center for Mother and Child Health Care, the Emergency Medical Care Center, the Hospital of the Scientific and Clinical Cardiology Center, the International Center of Traumatology, the International Center for Treatment of Eye Diseases, and the International Center for Treatment of Head and Neck Diseases.

WHO/Europe also provided technical support to enhance the medical provision plan for activities during AIMAG.

About the Hospital Safety Index

The WHO Hospital Safety Index provides a systematic and structured approach to assessing the safety and preparedness of hospitals and health facilities for all types of hazards. At the onset of an emergency and throughout its duration, hospitals must be able to continue providing essential services such as medical and nursing care, laboratory and other health-care services. Additionally, they must be able to respond to increased requirements related to the emergency itself. A safe hospital must remain organized, with contingency plans and trained health personnel in place.

The Index reviews many factors that contribute to a hospital’s vulnerability during an emergency or disaster. These include the building’s location, design specifications and materials, which contribute to its ability to withstand adverse natural events such as earthquakes. The Index also aims to ensure the continuation of other essential services such as electricity, water and sanitation, and waste treatment and disposal during crises.