Norman ID, Aikins M, Binka FN, Nyarko KM
This paper assessed the emergency preparedness programs of health facilities for all-risks but focused on Road Traffic Accidents, (RTA) resulting in surge demand. It adopted W. H. O checklist covering hospital preparedness, equipment, manpower and surge capacity planning as best practices for the mitigation of public health emergencies.
This is a cross-sectional study of purposively selected health facilities. The method used consisted of site visit, questionnaire survey, literature and internet review. The W. H. O. standard for emergency preparedness of health facilities was used to evaluate and assess the nation’s hospitals surge capacity programs. The study was conducted between March-June, 2010. A total of 22 district and regional health facilities including teaching hospitals participated in the study. All 10 regions of the country were covered.
These were: (1) many of the nation’s hospitals were not prepared for large RTA’s resulting in surge demands, and did not possess general emergency preparedness programs. (2) The hospitals’ respective abilities to handle large scale RTA’s were compromised by the lack of competent medical and allied health personnel and adequate supplies.
The inadequacies of the hospital system in responding to emergencies raise serious public health concerns. The biggest challenge facing the hospitals in their emergency intervention is the lack of pre-emergency and emergency preparedness plans as well as the coordination of the hospitals response mechanisms.
The paper ended with recommendations on how the nation’s hospitals and their supervisory agencies could improve emergency preparedness.