World Health Day

World Health Day 2009: photo gallery

All images may be downloaded and used, provided credit is given to WHO and photographers as mentioned with individual photos


WHO/Shareef Sarhan

A doctor surveys the damage to a medical facility in the Gaza Strip during the conflict in 2009. International humanitarian law urges combatants to respect the neutrality of health facilities, staff and ambulances during conflicts to ensure they are not caught up in the violence and can continue to provide care.

WHO/Christopher Black

In Pakistan's most-affected areas during the 2005 earthquake, 49% of health facilities were completely destroyed, from sophisticated hospitals to rural clinics and drug dispensaries. A woman receives medical care outside a hospital in Muzaffarabad after the earthquake.


The May 2008 earthquake in China's Sichuan province damaged or destroyed more than 11 000 health facilities and killed and injured tens of thousands of people. Chinese health, emergency and military authorities led a massive response effort shortly after the earthquake hit.


To ensure health facilities can withstand earthquakes or avoid sea surges caused by cyclones and hurricanes, planning is needed in terms of proper site location, design and construction in compliance with building codes. Staff from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) review the model of a new hospital in Costa Rica.


After Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May 2008, makeshift health and accommodation centres were set up in temples, monasteries and other buildings that were unaffected by the cyclone. About 2.4 million people were affected by the cyclone.

WHO/Margie Peden

Members of an emergency aid team participate in a training session in Durban, South Africa. Simulating response scenarios and conducting field tests allow health workers to practice their skills and teamwork and be ready for real emergencies.

WHO/Paul Garwood

A nurse checks the intravenous (IV) fluid infusion for a patient at a treatment centre in the district of Norton in Zimbabwe during the cholera outbreak in 2008. Many emergencies occur in remote locations and require strong, flexible and multi-sectoral means of response to save lives and treat the critically ill.

WHO/PAHO/J. Vizcarra

Poorly built and located health facilities are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters but with modest investment and appropriate planning they can continue providing health services when most needed. Two nurses visit the site of a hospital being rebuilt in Mexico.

WHO/Christopher Black

Families of those affected by emergencies need help, particularly psychosocial services, to cope with the tragedy of the event. Mohammed Rafaiq brought to a hospital in Pakistan's Muzaffarabad his son Razaif who was in shock after the 2005 earthquake, which destroyed their home and killed four in the family.