International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Partners in Action


Meeting on disaster programs of the   Ministries of Health and PAHO'S Disaster Focal Points in Central America

In April 6-8, 2005, the "Meeting on Disaster Programs of the Ministries of Health and PAHO's Disaster Focal Points in Central America" took place in Panama, with the participation of Disaster Program Coordinators of the Ministries of Health, as well as the focal points of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). The National Emergency Commissions of all Central American countries were also invited to participate in this gathering.

The primary goal of this event was to define aspects related to inter-institutional coordination among the Ministries of Health, PAHO/WHO, the National Emergency Commissions of Central American countries, and regional agencies responsible for risk management. This type of coordination will allow for a comprehensive disaster management within the health sector and integrate the regional efforts fostered by CEPREDENAC.

Specific goals:

  Learn about and analyze the work done and the progress

   made during the last year in implementing the Central

    American plans approved at RESCA;

  Define and analyze ways of establishing partnerships with

    other actors in disaster situations, and cooperation with

    international agencies;

  Analyze the scope of the World Conference on Disaster

    Reduction (WCDR) held in Kobe, Japan, and consider the

    commitments made for the health sector; and,

  Prepare a regional work plan to be implemented during the

    next two years.

The activity was also used to identify both the strengths and weaknesses shown, during the last 10 years, by the Health Disaster Programs, as well as to analyze the status of the regional disaster prevention plans for the health sector in Central America, hazardous substance management, and mental health, as approved by the Ministers of Health of REESCAD. In addition, participants to the meeting analyzed the role of the Ministries of Health within the Regional Water and Sanitation Plan, as approved by such Ministries.

One of the highlights of this gathering was the participation of a number of agencies of the United Nations System, the International Federation of the Red Cross, ECHO, CEPREDENAC, the US Southern Command, and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), which contributed to a multi-sectoral vision regarding the work to be done by the health sector in this region.

As a result of this workshop, a number of strategies were put in place for achieving the goal of having "safe hospitals for disaster situations", as established during the WCDR held in Kobe, Japan. Towards this end, each Central American country has committed to implement activities in the framework of the work plan approved for the next two years.

For more information please contact:
Dr. Alejandro Santander