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Day 74 – Q 4.What are public health disasters? What are the most common measures to address such disasters? Explain.

4. What are public health disasters? What are the most common measures to address such disasters? Explain.   

सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य आपदाएँ क्या हैं? ऐसी आपदाओं को दूर करने के लिए सबसे आम उपाय क्या हैं? समझाएं।


People across the world are faced with a wide and diverse range of risks associated with Public health disasters. These comprise infectious disease outbreaks, natural hazards, unsafe food and water, chemical and radiation incidents, antimicrobial resistance, the effects of climate change, and other sources of risk. 


Developments such as climate change, unplanned urbanization, population growth, migration and state fragility are increasing the frequency, severity and impacts of many types of public health disasters throughout the world.

India has faced many public health disasters in recent cases of Nipah, Zika, Chikungunya and Avian Influenza outbreak along with Japanese Encephalitis among children in Bihar. 

Most common response to Public Health disaster:

  • Risk Assessment: A multi-disciplinary central team from the National Centre for Disease Control to investigate and respond, in close coordination with state government officials.
  • Emergency preparedness: Syndromic surveillance enhancement. Hospital and community surveillance strengthening. Involvement of national testing laboratories like National Institute of Virology conducted laboratory testing to confirm and rule out cases.
  • Response and Recovery: Specific guidelines such as case definitions; guidelines for hospital infection prevention and control; guidelines for sample collection and transportation; clinical management guidelines for suspected and confirmed cases; guidelines for safe disposal of dead bodies; and information for the general public and for health care personnel. Risk communication messages to the community, public, partners and other stakeholders.
  • Training and capacity building for health care personnel in the following areas: sample collection and transportation; safe disposal of dead bodies; contact tracing; hospital waste management; hospital infection prevention and control; and the use of personal protective equipment.
  • Multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach: The government coordination amongst all relevant sectors including zoonoses, wildlife, animal husbandry, human health, clinicians, pulmonologists, neurologists, biologists and private sector.
  • Disease Surveillance system with common control room: The Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) at the National Centre for Disease Control to monitor the outbreak.

The management of these risks is vital to protect people’s health from emergencies and health disasters, to ensure local, national and global health security, to attain UHC and to build the resilience of communities, countries and health systems.


Preparedness measures are necessary to deal in emergencies of public health disasters. It is important for implementing the SDGs, including the pathway to Universal Health Coverage and target 3d to “strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.”

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