WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 66-72

Assessment of drought resilience of hospitals in Sri Lanka: a cross-sectional survey

1 Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Novil W A N Y Wijesekara
Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Colombo
Sri Lanka
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.283000

PMID: 32341225

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Background Drought is an extreme weather event. Drought-related health effects can increase demands on hospitals while restricting their functional capacity. In July 2017, Sri Lanka had been experiencing prolonged drought for around a year and data on the resilience of hospitals were required. Methods A cross-sectional survey was done in five of the most drought-affected and vulnerable districts using two specially developed questionnaires. Ninety hospitals were assessed using the Baseline Hospital Drought Resilience Assessment (BHDRA) tool, of which 24 purposefully selected hospitals were also assessed using the more detailed Comprehensive Hospital Drought Resilience Assessment (CHDRA) tool and observation visits. Results Of the hospitals assessed, 73 and 77 reported having adequate supplies of drinking and non-drinking water, respectively. Of the 24 hospitals studied using the CHDRA tool, bacteriological water quality testing was done in 8, with samples from only 4 hospitals being satisfactory. Adequate electricity supply was reported by 77 hospitals, of which 72 had at least one generator. None of the hospitals used rainwater or storm water harvesting, water recycling, or solar or wind power. Of the 24 hospitals selected for detailed analysis, awareness materials on safeguarding water or electricity and avoiding wasting water or electricity were displayed in only 6 hospitals; disaster preparedness plans were available in 9; and drought was considered as a hazard only in 6. Conclusion The findings indicate that drought needs to be considered as an important hazard in hospital risk assessments. Drought preparedness, response and recovery should be embedded in hospital disaster preparedness plans to ensure the continuity of essential health services during emergencies.

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