The Costa Rican Public Health System became the first institution in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and the seventh in the world to be internationally certified for its emergency and disaster relief services.
The World Health Organization granted the emergency medical team of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), which runs the country’s universal public health care system, the highest level (level 1) international accreditation.
According to Milton Salazar Acuña, a medical doctor at the Center for Emergency and Disaster Care of the CCSS, the certification recognizes the center’s capacity to treat up to 100 people in a day in an emergency or disaster situation anywhere in Costa Rica. The certification will allow the agency to create a health team that can respond to regional disasters and emergencies as well, said WHO officials during their visit to the country last week.
Last October, the CCSS acquired a mobile emergency care unit which cost an estimated US$700 thousand, said Salazar, which, together with expert procedures and highly trained personnel, guarantees the provision of medical services during emergency or disaster situations
The timely acquisition of the mobile unit allowed the CCSS to provide emergency support to the Upala health system, and to guarantee the continuity of regular services in northern Costa Rica when Hurricane Otto ravaged the area in late November.
The mobile hospital, ensures the provision of health services in emergency and disaster situations, such as earthquakes, floods or health emergencies and can be moved and installed in a few hours to any community in the country, said Salazar.
By Wendy Anders, The Costa Rica Star.