New Survey on Health System Preparedness for Disasters

Created on Monday, 12 January 2015

A new survey has been conducted, studying the disaster preparedness level of health systems in 27 European Union Member States. The survey was conducted in 2012, as part of the Disaster Training Curriculum (DITAC) project, which has received funding from the European Commission.

National health systems are key components of disaster management, and the preparedness of the health system is essential for an effective response. It has been noted that in instances where the health systems are unprepared, communities become more vulnerable to the negative consequences of disasters.

The checklist used in the survey was taken from the World Health Organisation’s toolkit for assessing health-system capacity for crisis management. The WHO form was slightly modified and three specialists from each country were asked to provide answers to the questions.

The survey found the average level of disaster management preparedness in the health system of the 27 European Union Member States to be acceptable. The highest level of preparedness was seen in the UK, Luxembourg, and Lithuania.

However, there is still room for improvement for all Member States. According to the survey, the elements of the disaster management system that suffer the most from insufficient levels of preparedness are hospitals and education and training facilities. The study suggests that a collective strategic plan is necessary at the European level in order to establish a comprehensive and standardised disaster management strategy plan.

More information is available here.