Breaking News International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR)

 Theme: “Hospitals Safe From Disasters”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, is being observed as International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR). Sanctioned by the United Nations Secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), this day is observed annually to raise global awareness.

Continuing with the theme from last year’s campaign Hospitals Safe from Disasters the NNISDR and the World Health Organization (WHO), with support from the World Bank, will continue to raise awareness in an effort to urge the global community to build new hospitals that will withstand the impacts of natural hazards. In recent disasters in Asia and Africa, many lives were lost, and health infrastructure was severely damaged, which further supports the call for making hospitals safe from disasters. 

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) along with the Ministry of Health have undertaken a number of activities which support the theme of IDDR. 
Since the start of the year members of the ODPEM team have been training and sensitizing a number of hospital staff about Disaster Preparedness. These hospitals included National Chest Hospital, St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, Mandeville Public Hospital and the Bustamante Hospital for Children. For IDDR Day 2009 the team will continue with its training at the Princess Margaret 
Hospital in St. Thomas.

Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse says the Ministry in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has completed the training of the health team for them to do assessments at hospitals. “We expect to begin implementation of the programme to develop the safe hospital index in another month. We are aiming to complete the process in three to five hospitals by the end of this financial year,” she said. The Safe Hospital Index ‘provides a snapshot of the probability that a hospital or health facility will continue to function in emergency situations, based on structural, nonstructural and functional factors, including the environment and the health services network to which it belongs. 

Director General of ODPEM, Mr. Ronald Jackson noted that the focus is to support the Ministry’s attempts to make the hospitals infrastructure safe and realizes the value of using International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) to promote the importance of taking the necessary actions to reduce vulnerability, mitigate the adverse effects of hazards and build resilience. 

Contact:    Kimberley Weller, Information Officer,