February 4, 20152105Views

The new
Peebles Hospital has scored an “A” on the Hospital Safety Index which was recently
applied by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
through its unit for Emergency
Preparedness and Disaster Relief.

The Hospital
Safety Index is a tool used by PAHO to determine the overall safety of
hospitals and determine their likelihood of continued functionality in
emergency situations. Accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009
as an international tool for assessing hospital security, taking into
consideration its surroundings and the network of health services that exist in
each country, the index
structural, non-structural and functional factors and
has been
applied to over 38 hospitals in the Caribbean.

PAHO’s Regional Advisor, Dr. Dana van
Alphen revealed that the excellent score attained by the new Peebles Hospitals,
puts it among the very few
regional hospitals to have attained this high score.

“The Safety Index Calculator, which is utilised for the
final calculations of the degree of resilience to natural hazards, has revealed
that the New Peebles Hospital scored an A and is therefore among the top three
hospitals that have scored this high rating,” Dr van Alphen explained.  She added, “I have been fortunate to get a
first-hand view of the new facility and I am truly impressed with the design,
layout and the efforts put into the functionality of this new hospital.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry
of Health and Social Development
, Health Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges
welcomed the assistance from PAHO in the application of the
Safety Index and views it as quite timely given the recent official opening of
the facility.

“It was important that an
independent assessment of the new Peebles Hospital be undertaken to determine
how well the facility ranked in terms of safety.  The Hospital Safety Index is not only a
technical measuring instrument to assess structural, non-structural and
functional aspects but it will help guide the way in which the BVI Health
Services Authority manages risks and what preventative and mitigation actions
are needed to maintain and improve the facility over time,” Dr. Georges stated.

addition to the application of the Hospital Safety Index, the Green Checklist
for Hospitals, recently developed by PAHO, was also applied.  An Energy Audit is also being undertaken and
the results will be shared with the Ministry shortly.

Georges further stated, “This Green Checklist has identified a number of areas
options can be applied to provide a more environmentally friendly operating
environment which focuses on conservation activities based on climate-smart
standards.  It is our goal to ultimately
establish a SMART Hospital by ensuring that the new Peebles Hospital is both
safe and green.”

In addition to the evaluation of the
new Peebles Hospital, an assessment of all 10 clinics operating throughout the
BVI was also completed using the PAHO Guidelines for the Evaluation of Small
and Medium sized Health Facilities.  A
report on the findings has been provided to the Ministry of Health and Social

The assessments were
completed by a team of experts including Mr. Hugo Martinez, a hospital assessor
and Biomedical Engineer who has worked with PAHO for over 15 years; Mr Ronnie
Lettsome, a local architect and recently certified PAHO regional assessor; Mr.
Cecil Jeffrey, Community Relations Officer from the Department of Disaster
Management and Mr. Julius Williams of Williams Electronics Services of St.
Vincent and the Grenadines who performed the energy audit.

The PAHO SMART Hospital Initiative
was developed in 2011 and first piloted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at
the Georgetown Hospital and in St. Kitts/Nevis at the Pogson Hospital.  To achieve SMART certification, hospitals must
among other things, ensure improved resilience in buildings and operations,
mitigate their impact on the environment; reduce pollution by improving
structural safety; reduce energy and water consumption; improve air quality;
strengthen disease surveillance and control.