[Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic series] UNDRR, WHO and IHF Safe Hospital Webinar series
In preventing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from the current COVID-19 pandemic, the overarching goal is for all countries to be able to control the pandemic by slowing down COVID-19 transmission and reducing deaths associated with it.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities such as long-term care facilities play a critical role in achieving this goal. Hospital safety, functionality and sustainability in delivering lifesaving health and care services must remain uninterrupted and optimized round the clock. Health facilities must always be prepared and ready vis-à-vis the COVID-19 pandemic transmission scenarios – no cases; sporadic cases; clusters of cases; and community transmission; as well as to all hazards.
Any hospital or facility must be guided by policies with standard operating procedures in-place intended for the best interest of individuals and populations in countries, territories and areas affected by SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. Health emergency and disaster risk management needs to be operationalized, including biological hazards.
Severe acute respiratory infections treatment centre may be constructed solely for the purpose of COVID-19 or existing hospitals can be officially designated in an extraordinary circumstance to receive only suspected, probable and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Other hospitals may preserve previously established functions, accepting both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases in the process but following strictly established public health and social measures, with implementing guidelines that are reviewed and monitored for quality improvement. Ensuring that each individual hospital and long-term care facility is integrated into the overall pandemic Strategic preparedness and response plan calls for what is emerging as the “new normal”: robust governance, with responsible leadership, engaged citizenry, agile systems and sustained investment, that is actualizing the whole-of-society approach with all stakeholders.
A basic understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic transmission scenarios and the role of hospitals/facilities as a critical infrastructure prepared and ready for any transmission scenario are a must. This is very important in order to take care of humanity and save lives - contributing to one of the 7 global targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030: to “substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower the average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020–2030 compared to the period 2005– 2015”.
Health facilities are an essential element of Universal Health Coverage and critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Suite health service capacity assessments in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic are key baselines in moving forward to strengthening hospital preparedness and response to COVID-19. WHO interim guidance and tools for these assessments that are available are the following: Rapid hospital readiness checklist; Biomedical equipment for COVID-19 case management inventory tool; Diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccine readiness, and other health products for COVID-19; Ensuring a safe environment for patients and staff in COVID-19 health care facilities; Infection prevention and control health care facility response for COVID-19; and Continuity of essential health services: Facility assessment tool.
As for the International Hospital Federation (IHF), the hospital webinar series will be an opportunity to share its global expertise.
Hospital preparedness and readiness components (not exhaustive) where presentations and discussion may revolve around are as follows:
- Leadership and incident management system;
- Coordination and communication;
- Surveillance and information management;
- Risk communication and community engagement;
- Administration, finance and business continuity;
- Human resources;
- Surge capacity;
- Continuity of essential support services;
- Patient management;
- Occupational health, mental health and psychosocial support;
- Rapid identification and diagnosis; and
- Infection prevention and control.
The “COVID-19 Hospital Series: Managing pandemic risks in health facilities” aims to:
- share the practical experience of managing pandemic risks and lessons learned;
- promote and advocate global guidance for hospitals;
- discuss challenges and opportunities of hospital services during the pandemic; and
- explore the perspectives of future hospitals applying lessons learned from the pandemic.
The series is directed towards:
- learning from country experiences, good practices of hospital capacities that are critical during a pandemic
- a thorough understanding of the future needs of hospital to better manage emergencies and disasters including a pandemic
Themes of the webinars
The series of webinars, to be conducted across weeks, will distil, in 75 minutes, the most relevant knowledge and practices with regard to hospitals’ and long-term care facilities’ management of pandemic risks in health facilities. The themes are as follows:
- Safe Hospital Webinar 1: Managing emergency and disaster risks in hospitals during a pandemic and hospital vaccine readiness/ Thursday, 28 January 2021;
- Safe Hospital Webinar 2: Hospitals and national strategic plans for emergencies and disasters from all hazards/ Thursday, 25 February 2021;
- Safe Hospital Webinar 3: Long-term care facilities and long-term care services in hospitals during a pandemic/ Thursday, 18 March 2021
- Safe Hospital Webinar 4: Health facilities post-COVID-19 and beyond: safe, functional, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable / Thursday, 15 April 2021
Hospital and facility leaders and managers, hospital staff, frontline health workers, participatory hospitals and networks (public, private, armed forces, community, makeshift, etc.), national and local government officials, researchers, academia, MOHs, health and other sectors
Date and Time:
28 Jan 2021 - 15 Apr 2021 (4 sessions)
07h30 Panama | 07h30 New York | 13h30 Geneva | 19h30 Bangkok | 21h30 Seoul
Duration: 75 min per session
- United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Global Education and Training Institute (GETI)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- International Hospital Federation (IHF)
Theme: Managing emergency and disaster risks in hospitals during a pandemic and hospital vaccine readiness
The first in a series takes a closer look on country experiences and technical guidance in support to countries to strengthen continuous health system and service monitoring in managing risks in hospitals during a pandemic. As COVID-19 vaccines are now available, what is the vaccination preparedness of certain health facilities in particular?
- Dr Wang-Jun Lee, CEO and Chairman, Myongji Hospital, Myongji Medical Foundation
- Dr Helen Kiarie, Head, Division of Monitoring & Evaluation, Ministry of Health of Kenya
- Dr Iftikher Mahmood, Founder and President, Hope Foundation
- Ms Carole Fry, Technical Officer, Infection Prevention and Control, WHO HQ
Theme: Hospitals and national strategic plans for emergencies and disasters from all hazards
The second in a series takes into account the role of hospitals as part of national strategic plans for emergencies and disasters from all hazards, inclusive of technical guidance in providing uninterrupted essential health services for multiple acute, chronic and complex conditions in the context of a pandemic.
- Dr Samir Adhikari, Senior Health Administrator Chief, Health Emergency Operation Center, Ministry of Health and Population, Government of Nepal
- Dr Carlos Alves, Senior specialist in Infectiology, Hospital Center of Sao Joao, Portugal
- Professor Saini Yang, Director, International Center for Collaborative Research on Disaster Risk Reduction, Beijing Normal University, China
- Dr Dirk Horemans, Program Officer, Health services performance assessment, UHC for the Life Course, WHO HQ
Theme: Long-term care facilities and long-term care services in hospitals during a pandemic
The third in a series is a deep dive into long-term care facilities and long-term care services in hospitals during a pandemic and technical guidance on a safe hospital environment. Nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, residential facilities and residential long-term care facilities are collectively known as long-term care facilities that provide a variety of long-term care services, including medical and assistive care, to people who are unable to live independently in the community (WHO, 2020).
- Dr Hanadi Khamis Al Hamad, Medical Director, Rumailah Hospital & the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, Qatar
- Dr Felipe Cruz Vega, Head of the Special Health Projects Division in the National Medical Direction, Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico
- Dr Hongsoo Kim, Professor at the Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
- Dr JoAnne Reifsnyder, Chief Nursing Officer, Genesis HealthCare, Pennsylvania, USA
- Mr Hugh Masters, Associate Chief Nursing Office; Pandemic Response Chair of Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board, Scotland, UK
Theme: Health facilities post-COVID-19 and beyond: safe, functional, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable
The fourth and last in a series is an exploration into the realm of hospitals post-COVID-19 and beyond working towards safe, functional, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable health facilities now and in the future.
The “COVID-19 Safe Hospital Webinar Series: Managing pandemic risks in health facilities” is within the scope of WHO’S disaster risk management and resilience area of work (technical support) of the Health Security Preparedness (HSP) Department under the Emergency Preparedness Division (WPE), WHO Health Emergencies (WHE) Programme. Advocacy and communication are jointly done by closely engaging with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the International Hospital Federation; and the technological support is managed by the UNDRR.
For more information:
Ana Cristina Thorlund, UNDRR Global Education and Training Institute (GETI) at email@example.com
with funding support from: