DAJABON, Dominican Republic – The Dominican health system’s years-long effort to ensuring care to people affected by natural disasters has made progress in recent years thanks to Safe Hospitals, an initiative of the European Union.
But while the program has been “quite successful” in the Dominican Republic, much remains to be done, Hilaire Avril, the spokesman in Latin American and the Caribbean for the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations agency (ECHO), told EFE.
Brought to the Dominican Republic by ECHO in 2010, the project is now run by the Pan American Health Organization in partnership with Dominican health authorities.
The program has been applied to 52 of the country’s 184 public hospitals, prioritizing those on the border with Haiti, such as Luis. F. Bogaert in Mao, the largest such institution in the northwest.
Safe Hospitals “helps us provide plausible security” to patients, both Dominicans and Haitians, hospital deputy director Aristides Bernard told EFE.
“We used to have the lowest rating (C),” he recalled, citing problems with the stability of the building due to the nature of the soil.
Bogaert now has a B rating and is capable of assisting residents in case of a disaster, Bernard said.
Created in 1992, ECHO operates in more than 80 countries and assists an average of 120 million people a year.