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Published 14th October 2009, 12:22pm

In keeping with the theme of this Year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – “Hospitals Safe from Disaster,” Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) continues to work along with the Health Services Authority and other agencies to make health infrastructure more resilient to disasters.

“It is essential that medical facilities and all other critical infrastructure is designed and constructed to a high standard. In order to provide adequate health care to individuals our hospitals need to remain functional during and in the aftermath of a disaster,” explained HMCI Director, McCleary Frederick.

Earlier in the year, HMCI (in conjunction with PAHO) organised Mass Casualty, Emergency Care and Treatment, and Incident Command seminars for 90 participants, many of who were health care workers. “Regular drills and exercises work to improve the overall level of preparedness and our response capacity,” explained HMCI Director, Mr. McCleary Frederick. “When you are dealing with a multi-agency response the situation can get complex and drills provide first response agencies with the opportunity to sharpen their skills and improve coordination. It is absolutely critical that our various front line agencies work together smoothly and effectively when they are faced with the reality of a significant impact. The exercises also highlight areas that we can improve on.”

Earlier, HMCI staff conducted a vulnerability analysis of the pharmacy and laboratory operations and this assessment was submitted to the management of the HSA. Recommendations were included for strategies to better protect equipment, medicine and supplies.

While the hospitals in the Cayman Islands held up well in the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ivan, the storm revealed areas that needed to be strengthened. Over the years work has been done to retrofit the George Town Hospital to make the facility more resilient. This includes the purchasing of flood prevention barriers to protect the main generator.