Health workers and patients have in an increasing trend been faced with constant threats both man-made and natural. These threats have in a significant way affected service delivery and overall security of workers and patients. Sometimes when such occurrences take place it becomes difficult for health workers to report to duty making it stressful for those who were found by the threats on duty. This in turn puts a challenge on quality health care provision. These threats can include fires, floods and acts of terrorism.
Floods are perhaps the most frequent natural disaster that has a huge effect on human life. They cause losses and other forms of suffering. The most immediate outcomes of floods usually are deaths, injuries and destruction of hospital equipment as experienced with hurricanes Harvey and Irma (Yan, 2017). However there are others that tend to be long term results from flooding that are felt. Infectious diseases start rising even within health facilities. Inadequacy of safe drinking water leads to diarrhea, cholera, dysentery and typhoid cases. Overflowing of sewers releases microbes into flood water that further aggravates matters with significant effects on open wounds. In a bid to reduce the effects of floods on health facilities, those that are located in low lying areas prone to floods can be relocated (Court, 2017). When there are looming floods, medical supplies should be increased with standby quick response teams and when possible vaccination can be effected.
Fires in health facilities can emanate from cooking areas, electrical connections and heating equipment. When they occur, fires can be very destructive if they are not controlled in time and they can cause destruction of hospital property and equipment that in turn put health care delivery in jeopardy (Sadaya, 2017). Smokes from fires have adverse outcomes on patients with respiratory diseases not forgetting irritations to eyes, throat and nose.
Constant maintenances check should be carried out on cooking equipment such as gas stoves to mitigate fire occurrences. Inspecting electrical connections would also prove useful in detecting electrical faults way ahead of possible damages. Every health facility should also install modern firefighting equipment and invest in training staff on emergency fire response actions and evacuation plans.
It’s evident that in spite of some threats to health facilities being uncontrollable most of them can be mitigated. Putting preventive measures in place would go a long way in ensuring staff and patients are well protected. It should also call for investing in sustainable preparedness programs by all stakeholders as well as carrying out awareness campaigns on these threats.
Sadaya Alexin. (2017). Leading Causes of Fires in Healthcare Facilities and How to Prevent Them. Retrieved from www.fireproprotecttiongoldcoast.com.au/leading-causes-fires-healthcare-facilities-prevent/
Court Emma. (2017). How Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are affecting heath companies. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-hurricanes-harvey-and-irma-are-affecting-health-companies-2017-09-07
Yan Wudan. (2017). Grappling with the Health Consequences of Floods