Business Continuity Plan

Pref­­­­­ace

A business continuity planning toolkit is developed to prepare for an emergency like the COVID-19 outbreak. The toolkit provides guidance and templates to agencies to develop their business continuity plan during the emergency response. The toolkit is designed for public health institutes or agencies, but it can be used for any other institutes and agencies too.

Kindly read this article before going into the details: “Do we have Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for Emergencies like Ebola Outbreak or Pandemic or Others?” – Click Here 

Introduction

Emergencies like pandemic, disasters and other catastrophic events pose significant threats to the ability of institutes to maintain operational capabilities and provide essential and basic services to the public or community. Many health care facilities are overwhelmed during disasters and emergencies affecting the continuity of delivering health services.

Most of the public health agency/institute has already developed an emergency preparedness and response plan for an emergency like the COVID-19 outbreak. A business continuity plan compliments the existing preparedness and response plan and can ensure the continuity of essential services during an emergency. The planning is a proactive process that identifies and prioritizes the critical functions, applications and evaluates potential impact.

Rationale for business continuity plan

The current outbreak due to the corona virus has secondary attack rate in households ranges from 3-10%, case fatality rate around 3.8% [1]. As of 20 February 2020, there were 2,055 COVID-19 laboratory-confirmed cases reported among health care workers (HCW) from 476 hospitals across China. The majority of HCW cases (88%) were reported from Hubei. Though this figure may not look significant; absenteeism of health care workers can be very high. Usually, during this kind of outbreak, the absenteeism of health care workers can be categorized in four primary causes as followings: 1) Fear of getting a disease; 2) Sickness (they themselves become – approximately 2055 health care workers reported so far); 3) deaths of health care workers and 4) when they have to take care of a sick family member(s). Many countries have limited human resource capacity and the absenteeism among healthcare workers may increase and lead to staff shortages. This can compromise the response effort and can impact on the routine essential health care services.

Due to overwhelming demand and decrease of supply, shortages of essential healthcare resources (beds, medicines, mechanical ventilators, etc.) could last for several weeks or months. Circumstances may arise in which hospitals will be required to free up resources for severely ill patients, for example, by discharging noncritical patients and cancelling planned non-urgent treatments. Arrangements should be made to allow for an increase of healthcare system capacities at short notice and to an appropriate level if required.[2]

Purpose of business continuity plan

A plan is intended to be a dynamic tool to be used during an emergency like the COVID19 outbreak when health care workers are overwhelmed and impacted. A goal of business continuity is to ensure the continuity of essential services during the affected period.

Applicability and scope:

  • The plan should be implemented when a high number of health care workers are affected and/or mobilized for an emergency like the COVID-19 outbreak and possess a significant impact on essential health services.
  • To ensure continuity of essential health services during the outbreak.

Click here for a presentation on Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

If anyone needs a toolkit to develop a plan, please send an email request to kandeln@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is for general use and based on the experience of the author. The content of this document is the author’s own and does not represent the organization where he works. The document endeavors to keep the information up to date and correct; however, any reliance and use of this article and concept are strictly at your own risk. In no event, the author will be liable for any loss or damage in connection with the use of this document. If there are any queries or clarification required, please contact the author at kandeln@gmail.com. Every global citizen has responsibilities to the world beside her/his professional work. Therefore, the author encourages to share one’s experience and knowledge at a time when it is required the most. I am #DOINGMYPART.


[1] https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

[2] https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/RRA-outbreak-novel-coronavirus-disease-2019-increase-transmission-globally-COVID-19.pdf