Health sector responses to the coincidence of disasters and COVID-19

Added July 21, 2021

Citation: Sohrabizadeh S, Yousefian S, Bahramzadeh A, et al. A systematic review of health sector responses to the coincidence of disasters and COVID-19. BMC Public Health. 2021;21:709.

What is this?

Several disasters have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and poor living conditions and inadequate health facilities in disaster-affected areas can exacerbate the transmission of COVID-19. Furthermore, the pandemic and its associated measures have affected disaster vulnerability and the capacity of health systems.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for articles about the health system response to the coincidence of COVID-19 and disasters. They restricted their searches to articles published in English and did the search in September 2020. They included 13 articles, with editorial articles being the most common document type (5 articles). Earthquakes were the most common disaster studied in coincidence with COVID-19 (4 articles). Other articles studied the coincidence of COVID-19 and floods, windstorms and wildfires.

What was found?

The authors found that community-based response and preparedness and multi-sector collaborations can improve health system readiness for responding to COVID-19 outbreaks in earthquake-affected regions.

Implications: The authors concluded that post-earthquake evacuation centres must have the capacity to allow for social distancing, as well as having access to personal protective equipment and medical supplies such as respirators. They also concluded that providing healthcare services for patients with chronic diseases is important during earthquakes and COVID-19 coincidence (because chronic diseases can worsen the effects of COVID-19 and these patients might require continuous access to healthcare services) and that strengthening primary health care systems would help continuity of care.


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