February 23, 20173663Views

Twenty-one individuals from local and regional health care facilities have received guidance on how to develop a contingency plan suited for their facilities.

This guidance was provided during a ‘Contingency Plan Development Workshop for Small and Medium Health Care Facilities’ organised by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) in collaboration with the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) and with support from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

The three-day workshop from February 20 to 22 and was aimed at deepening participants understanding of the importance of developing working contingency plans for health facilities while at the same time providing participants with the necessary tools and guidance for developing and update contingency plans for their facilities.

The workshop’s Instructor and Director of the Department of Disaster Management, Sharleen DaBreo explained that the tendency now is for hospitals and health care facilities to work towards becoming ‘smart’ facilities.

She said, “Hospitals and health care services, whether public or private are considered to be critical facilities in times of emergencies and disasters and as such they must ensure that mechanisms are in place to minimise the potential impact of hazards and to allow for an expedited return to normal operations during times of distress”.

Ms. DaBreo stated that given the importance of their service to the public, there have been ongoing efforts through PAHO to establish ‘smart’ health care facilities which implement structural, non-structural, functional and green measures aimed at reducing their operating costs and ensuring that they are functioning at optimal capacity during critical times.

She added, “A contingency plan is an essential tool as it identifies the risks facing the facilities and provides details of how to prepare for those risks and respond to them appropriately.  Health care facilities are therefore required to have a contingency plan to be considered smart.”

Workshop participant, Clinic Manager at the Eureka Medical Clinic, Nadine Edwards described the workshop as an eye-opening experience and said it reinforced the importance of developing contingency plans.

Ms. Edwards said, “I’ve learnt so much about how critical it is for organisations, specifically medical facilities in the BVI, to have a plan which outlines how we execute processes should there be a disaster or emergency situation.  It has been a very eye-opening session for me and has highlighted how critical it (contingency plan) is to ensure that everyone knows exactly what to do and eliminate any form of confusion in the event of a disaster”.

General Surgeon, Dr. Vonetta George who represented the Health Authority of Anguilla described the technical support offered during the workshop as remarkable.

Dr. George added, “The support offered and knowledge gained during the workshop was remarkable.  I hope we can all take back the knowledge gained here, and know that we have the continued support of PAHO and the DDM in formulating our plans to get us to become smart health care facilities”.

The workshop was attended by participants from the BVI Health Services Authority, Bougainvillea Clinic, Eureka Medical Centre, B&F Medical Complex, Pic Smith Medical Services, Montserrat, Antigua and Anguilla.