Public health facilities in Iran are exposed to a wide range of natural hazards. This article presents the first survey of the impacts of such natural hazards on primary health care (PHC) centers in Iran from 2001 to 2011. A retrospective survey was conducted in 25 out of 30 provinces of Iran. Archival reports at provincial public health departments were cross-referenced with key informant interviews. During a 10-year period, 119 natural hazard events were recorded that led to physical damage and/or functional failure in 1,401 health centers, 127 deaths and injury or illness in 644 health staff. Earthquakes accounted for the most physical damage and all health-worker deaths. However, there was an increasing trend of impacts due to hydro-meteorological hazards. Iran’s health system needs to establish a registry to track the impact of natural hazards on health facilities, conduct regular hazard and vulnerability assessments and increase mitigation and preparedness measures.
Keywords: Disaster, primary health care, facility, Iran, natural hazard
Corresponding author: Ali Ardalan MD, PhD. Iran’s National Institute of Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Email: [email protected]