Humanitarian Health Action

World Health Day 2009 - Save Lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies.

On 7 April 2009, WHO will celebrate World Health Day with the theme “Save Lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies.” WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan will launch World Health Day in Beijing while a side event will be organized in Geneva.

Health facilities are confronted by a multitude of threats ranging from natural disasters and man-made crises to perils such as the global financial crisis, under-investment in health and poor hospital design and construction.

During emergencies, disasters and other crises, health facilities and workers are often among the casualties. When health services are unable to resist hazards or are not prepared for emergencies, staff members and patients are killed and injured, emergency and regular health care cannot be delivered, investments in the infrastructure are lost and community recovery and health system reconstruction is slowed.

Much has been done to ensure health facilities can better cope with emergencies and increase awareness of their vital role in emergencies. The 2008-09 World Disaster Reduction Campaign, “Hospitals Safe From Disasters”, focuses on natural disasters and the damage they can cause to hospitals in particular.

Making hospitals safe in emergencies is not just about saving the lives of people harmed during a disaster, but ensuring the continuation of routine health care during and after a crisis.

World Health Day is organized jointly by the Health Action in Crises and Health Systems Strengthening Clusters.

Related links
For more information please contact

Paul Garwood
Communications Officer
Health Action in Crises
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3462
Mobile: +41 79 475 5546