Despite the importance of health vulnerability in disaster risk assessment, most of the existing disaster vulnerability indicators only emphasize economic and social vulnerability. Important underlying health risks such as non-communicable disease are not included in vulnerability measures. A three-phase methodology approach was used to construct a disaster risk model that includes a number of key health indicators which might be missing in global disaster risk analysis. This study describes the development of an integrated health vulnerability index and explains how the proposed vulnerability index may be incorporated into an all-hazard based disaster risk index in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the “Silk Road Economic Belt”, region. Relevant indicators were identified and reviewed in the published literature in PubMed/Medline. A two-stage dimension reduction statistical method was used to determine the weightings of relevant dimensions to the construction of the overall vulnerability index. The proposed final health vulnerability index included nine indicators, including the proportion of the population below 15 and above 65 years, under-five mortality ratio, maternal mortality ratio, tuberculosis prevalence, age-standardized raised blood pressure, physician ratio, hospital bed ratio, and coverage of the measles-containing-vaccine first-dose (MCV1) and diphtheria tetanus toxoid and pertussis (DTP3) vaccines. This proposed index, which has a better reflection of the health vulnerability in communities, may serve as a policy and implementation tool to facilitate the capacity-building of Health-Emergency Disaster Risk management (Health-EDRM).
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