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Hospital Disaster Preparedness as Measured by Functional Capacity: a Comparison between Iran and Sweden

  • Ahmadreza Djalali (a1) (a2), Maaret Castren (a3), Hamidreza Khankeh (a1) (a4), Dan Gryth (a5), Monica Radestad (a3), Gunnar Öhlen (a6) and Lisa Kurland (a3)...

Hospitals are expected to continue to provide medical care during disasters. However, they often fail to function under these circumstances. Vulnerability to disasters has been shown to be related to the socioeconomic level of a country. This study compares hospital preparedness, as measured by functional capacity, between Iran and Sweden.


Hospital affiliation and size, and type of hazards, were compared between Iran and Sweden. The functional capacity was evaluated and calculated using the Hospital Safety Index (HSI) from the World Health Organization. The level and value of each element was determined, in consensus, by a group of evaluators. The sum of the elements for each sub-module led to a total sum, in turn, categorizing the functional capacity into one of three categories: A) functional; B) at risk; or C) inadequate.


The Swedish hospitals (n = 4) were all level A, while the Iranian hospitals (n = 5) were all categorized as level B, with respect to functional capacity. A lack of contingency plans and the availability of resources were weaknesses of hospital preparedness. There was no association between the level of hospital preparedness and hospital affiliation or size for either country.


The results suggest that the level of hospital preparedness, as measured by functional capacity, is related to the socioeconomic level of the country. The challenge is therefore to enhance hospital preparedness in countries with a weaker economy, since all hospitals need to be prepared for a disaster. There is also room for improvement in more affluent countries.

DjalaliA, CastrenM, KhankehH, GrythD, RadestadM, OhlenG, KurlandL. Hospital Disaster Preparedness as Measured by Functional Capacity: a Comparison between Iran and Sweden. Prehosp Disaster Med.2013;28(5):1-8.

Corresponding author
Correspondence: Ahmadreza Djalali, MD, EMDM, PhD CRIMEDIM - Center for Research and Education in Emergency and Disaster Medicine Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale Via Lanino 1 28100 Novara, Italy E-mail
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