The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Smart Health Facilities Project will be retrofitting Eleven hospitals and health centers and a laboratory in Belize to make them safer, “green” and able to continue operating during emergencies and disasters as part of an initiative, financed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UKaid) and the European Union (EU).
“PAHO has been working on disaster prevention and response for 40 years and this has enabled many countries in the Americas to be better prepared to face them,” said the director of PAHO, Dr Carissa F. Etienne, during her official visit to the country.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, seven out of ten hospitals are located in areas at high risk of disasters, which can leave them out of service in the event of a hurricane, earthquake or flood. The health sector is also a contributor to climate change and faces high energy and water costs, particularly in small island states.
“When disaster strikes, hospitals must remain accessible to people and must be able to operate at full capacity in order to provide care to those affected by an emergency as well as to regular patients that need care,” said Dr Ciro Ugarte, director of the Department of Health Emergencies at PAHO.