Too many Category B Hospitals

The original article can be found in: The Barbados Advocate

More health care facilities in more countries within the Caribbean and Latin America are being encouraged to have their Hospital Safety Index calculated in order to implement improvements.

This came in light of the fact that not only are approximately 12 060 of the region’s hospitals in disaster-prone areas, but only 14 Caribbean countries have applied the Hospital Safety Index.

Even more alarming, according to Dr. Ernest Pate, Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Caribbean Program Coordinator, of the 40 hospitals out of the estimated 130 Caribbean public hospitals in the 14 Caribbean countries, “86 per cent of these had a category B Hospital Safety Index score”.

Pate said that the fact that in excess of three-quarters of the region’s hospitals recorded a category B score indicates, “the hospital’s current safety levels are such that patients, hospital staff and its ability to function during a disaster are potentially at risk”.

He added, “The results validated findings of post-disaster impact studies that functional and non-structural issues tend to be the predominant causes of increased vulnerability.”

He stated further that the “common non-structural issues included heightened risk of damage to roofs and communication systems, as well as inadequate fire suppression systems and supplies of water and medical gases. [And,] Recurrent functional issues included absence of a functioning disaster committee, lack of emergency plans and evacuation procedures, as well as inaccessible, poorly labelled or obstructed emergency routes.”

Dr. Joy St. John, Chief Medical Officer, echoed the sentiment of Pate stating that, “That 67 per cent of all hospitals are vulnerable is a bracing thought.” Adding her voice to the plea for more assessments and improvements to facilitate safe hospitals regionally, she said, “I also wish that the statistic of [more than] 75 per cent of facilities being category B, five years from now, that will transform to [more than] 75 per cent in category A.” (KG)

Leave a Comment

Security Question * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Powered by WordPress