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World Health Day 2009-Save Lives and Make Hospitals Safe in Emergencies

April 7, 2009, World Health Organization (WHO) is celebrating World Health Day, focusing on emergency health care. WHO urges the public health care facilities and governments to implement best practices to save lives during emergencies.

This year, the World Health Day is launched in China with the theme, “Save lives and make hospitals safe in emergencies.” This theme kicked off in China after 87,000 people were killed and 11,000 health care facilities were destroyed in an earthquake in May 2008.

Emergencies resulting from floods, earthquakes, cyclones etc. destroy many hospitals. When emergency healthcare is not available, several lives are lost in a short time. To avoid this, WHO suggests that the hospitals should be constructed to be safe during emergencies. According to WHO, constructing a new hospital resilient to disasters costs less and improving the existing hospitals for emergencies is even cheaper.

According to Dr Eric Laroche, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Action in Crises, “We know we can do more to prevent our hospitals and clinics falling victim to emergencies. The time has come for action.”

Emergency healthcare workers who perform rescue acts during disasters or armed conflicts are also wounded or killed due to lack of emergency preparedness. This can be overcome by preparing the emergency health care workers with mock drills and advanced emergency exercises, which can save many lives

“With our world threatened by the harmful effects of climate change, more frequent extreme weather events and armed conflicts, it is crucial that we all do more to ensure that health care is available at all times to our citizens, before, during, or after a disaster,” said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

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