Introduction: The aim of this study was to describe the current state of disaster preparedness in hospitals in the public sector in the Western Cape, South Africa with the advent of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. The objectives included the completion of a self-reported assessment of readiness at all Western Cape public sector hospitals, to identify best practice and shortfalls in these facilities, as well as putting forward recommendations for improving disaster preparedness at these hospitals.
Methods: The National Department of Health, as part of the planning for the FIFA 2010 World Cup, appointed an expert committee to coordinate improvements in disaster medicine throughout the country. This workgroup developed a Self Reported Hospital Assessment Questionnaire, which was sent to all hospitals across the country. Data only were collected from public hospitals in the Western Cape and entered onto a purpose-built database. Basic descriptive statistics were calculated. Ethical approval was obtained from the Health Sciences Faculty Research Committee of the University of Cape Town.
Results: Twenty-seven of the 41 (68%) public hospitals provided completed data on disaster planning. The study was able to ascertain what infrastructure is available and what planning already has been implemented at these institutions.
Recommendations: Most hospitals in the Western Cape have a disaster plan for their facility. Certain areas need more focus and attention; these include: (1) increasing collaborative partnerships; (2) improving HAZMAT response resources; (3) specific plans for vulnerable populations; (4) contingency plans for communication failure; (5) visitor, media and VIP dedicated areas and personnel; (6) evacuation and surge capacity plans; and (7) increased attention to training and disaster plan exercises.