Emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. They can be caused by severe weather, infectious diseases, industrial accidents, or by intentional acts.
The very nature of an emergency is that it is unpredictable. It can vary in scope and impact. An emergency can threaten public safety, the environment, the economy, critical infrastructure or the health of the public.
A national emergency often affects access to health care services and the health care system’s ability to respond to the public’s health needs. Emergency preparedness is progressive, continuously building increased resilience among the public and relevant agencies. This ongoing process involves careful planning, designing of response actions, testing and evaluation of processes and continual updating.
For the health sector, careful planning in particular is critical to safe-guarding the public health care system. Education and training of the health workforce, who will activate the health emergency plan should it be required, are also essential.