Launches of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign 2008-2009: Hospitals Safe from Disaster

Regional launches

Bangkok: on 25 January, the Asia-Pacific regional campaign was launched by UNISDR Asia Pacific, WHO Regional Office for South East Asia (SEARO), WHO Regional office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) and key regional partners, resulting in concrete first steps and recommendations to develop a joint regional strategy on safe hospitals for Asia and the Pacific. SEARO and WPRO will keep Campaign momentum going throughout the year with staggered regional launches that coincide with high level regional health meetings.

Tehran: The campaign in Iran was launched on 29 January with a joint press conference between WHO, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and UN/ISDR secretariat, and was attended by embassies of ECO states, media and UN agencies.

On 3 February the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) and UNISDR Western Asia and North Africa (WANA) office launched the campaign with the attendance of the Egyptian Minister of Health, and UNISDR secretariat Director Salvano Briceno. The WANA regional Arabic website was also launched that day at Full documentation of the meeting, including presentations, photogallery and audiovisual is available here.

Panama: On 11 March, UNISDR and WHO in the Americas (also known as the Pan American Health Association or PAHO) launched the regional campaign for the Americas in Panama City, at the Saint Thomas Hospital. With over 200 people in attendance, participants in this event included Dr Cirilo Lawson, National Director of Health representing the Health Ministry, Roberto Velasquez Abood, Director of the National System of Civil Protection (SINAPROC), Dave Zervaas, Regional Coordinator for the Americas of UN/ISDR secretariat, and Dr Guadalupe Verdejo of PAHO in Panama.

New Delhi: The Hospitals Safe from Disasters Campaign for the WHO South-East Asia Region (or SEAR, including most of South Asia, several Southeast Asian countries, and DPR Korea), launched on 15 April, and was followed by a three day consultation and workshop entitled ‘Keeping health facilities safe from disasters.’ Attended by 60 people, the consultation included country presentations, discussion of technical elements and tools such as the Hospital Safety Index, partnership case studies, reviewing and validating indicators for disaster-resilient hospital and health facilities, drafting of national plans of action, and validation of Regional Framework of Action for SEAR countries on ‘Hospitals Safe from Disasters’. Extensive documentation, including full presentation list, case studies, background papers and regional policy notes are available here.

The Central Asia regional campaign launch took place in Dushanbe, Tajikstan, in early May, co-organized by UN/ISDR secretariat and the WHO. Globally, regions and countries are in the process of developing joint plans of action and sharing assessment tools, particularly between UN/ISDR secretariat, the WHO, and Ministries of Health.

Manila: The WHO-Western Pacific Regional Office launched their regional campaign on 20 August. Calling on members states to ensure that hospitals are disaster safe, the WHO emphasized the importance of DRR to the WHO Western Pacific Region, which includes much of Asia. "Over the past 10 years, the Western Pacific Region encountered 127 major disasters from natural hazards or 23% of all disasters worldwide," said Dr. Soe Nyunt-U, WHO Representative to the Philippines. "The Philippines is the most disaster-prone country in the Region, exceeding China and Vietnam. This is the reason why we need hospitals and healthfacilities that will not collapse in disasters, killing patients and staff."  More information on the WHO-WPRO regional campaign is available here.