EHS-COVID (372) WHO Western Pacific Region: Advice to hospitals on how to ease pandemic pressure

3 June, 2021

This new publication offers guidance for hospitals and health systems in the Western Pacific region. It refers to the global guidance on Maintaining essential health services, which we have been using as the basis for our EHS-COVID discussions. I have looked at it briefly and I suspect it may be useful as a checklist (what needs to be done), but seems thin on practical means (how to do it). Are there similar publications for other regions? What are the strengths and limitations of such guidance?


Hospitals in some countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region are under pressure as cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surge.

In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its interim guidance for countries and areas in the Region to support health systems under pressure and those continuing to prepare for a rise in cases. The publication – on managing hospital services, maintaining essential routine health care and generating surge capacity – provides guidance to national and subnational health authorities, senior decision-makers, and hospital administrators and staff.

The main principles for actions in hospitals are:

• manage the COVID-19 caseload, including surge capacity,

• maintain continuity of essential services,

• ensure good coordination at every level,

• provide clear and accurate internal and external communication,

• make efficient use of scarce resources and swiftly adapt to increases in demand, and

• create a safe environment for hospital staff.

The guidance joins an extensive range of WHO guidance to hospitals and health systems on managing COVID-19...


Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,