Health care risk analysis
Crisis preparedness begins from acknowledgement of risks. The health care risk analysis prepared in 2018 by the Republic of Estonia Health Board assesses the principal risks in health care and the likelihood of such risks becoming an emergency as well as possible consequences and preparedness to resolve an emergency situation. Analyzing risks constitutes a methodical operation that helps learn and draw conclusions from past events, thereby preventing and being better prepared for possible emergencies and alleviation of consequences thereof.
In health care, the principal risks that can become emergencies include communicable diseases and poisoning. Where certain unfavorable conditions coincide, extensive spread of communicable diseases may cause an epidemic emergency situation, while poisoning of large numbers of people may also lead to an emergency situation.
Next to risks related to communicable diseases and poisoning, other events as well may directly or indirectly concurrently endanger the life and health of many people. Other possible events that may result in large numbers of victims have been assessed in risk analyses prepared by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, Estonian Rescue Board, Estonian Environmental Board, Estonian Veterinary and Food Board, and the Republic of Estonia Information System Authority.
Epidemic of communicable diseases
Circulation of communicable diseases is an inherent part of nature. That being said, rapid expansive spread of communicable diseases and resulting greater-than-normal morbidity may develop into an epidemic, causing an emergency situation. The following circumstances both severally and jointly contribute to emergence of an epidemic emergency situation:
- emergence of a dangerous communicable disease that is new or rare or the characteristics of which have mutated;
- a pathogen’s resistance to treatment;
- lack or low immunity in people to a communicable disease;
- cross-border spread of a pathogen;
- insufficient methods in preventing or controlling a communicable disease;
- accident or negligence or intentional spreading of a pathogen.
In Estonia, prevention, monitoring, and controlling of communicable diseases is organized by the Republic of Estonia Health Board. On an international level there are in place networks for early warning and notification as pertaining to communicable disease related risks.
For information on communicable diseases, communicable disease related risks, and ways to prevent getting sick visit the “Communicable diseases” section.
The risk analysis looked at poisonings that may result from consumption of toxic substances. Concurrent poisoning of large numbers of people is possible if they consume a product that contains a toxic substance and is expansively available to consumers. Expansive poisoning may occur foremost if illegal products, including illicit alcohol, drugs, or illegal medications, are consumed.
Expansive poisoning resulting from consumption of legal products is possible if an error has occurred in production of such products and an unverified product is made available to consumers. Such products may include food and food supplements, body care products, medications, and other widely consumed goods. Less expansive poisoning that nevertheless may occur concurrently in many people is possible also if products are consumed in a manner or quantity or for purposes not relevantly intended.
In Estonia, poisoning prevention is organized by the Health Board’s Poison Center; in the case of signs or suspicion of poisoning seek advice by calling the 24/7 Poison Center information line at 16662. For information on poisoning risks and their prevention as well as recommendations on what steps to take in the case of poisoning, visit the Poison Center’s web site.