Statement from Mrs Ann M. Veneman

UNICEF Ecexutive Director

Satement on the World Health Day 2009 - 6 April 2009 - New York¦ "The critical importance of healthcare to emergency response is the theme for this year's World Health Day 2009. The annual day commemorates the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The impact of man-made and natural disasters falls disproportionately on women and children.  Where healthcare systems have been disrupted by disasters, children are at greater risk of disease.

Read the full statement from the UNICEF website


Message from Mr Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General

Message on the International Day for Disaster Reduction  - 8 October 2008
The World Disaster Reduction Campaign for 2008-2009 focuses on making “Hospitals Safe from Disasters”.  When health facilities are damaged, so, too, is our ability to improve maternal and child health and to provide other essential health services. But in resilient communities, health systems are better able to withstand natural hazards.  We need to mobilize society at every level to reduce risk and protect health facilities so that they can save lives.

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[ pdf 100kb ] 

Message from Dr Ala Alwan

Former Assistant Director-General
Health Action in Crises, WHO

Don’t let hospitals become a casualty of disasters

As news of a disaster or emergency reaches the global community, our thoughts turn immediately to the human consequences; and at the forefront are concerns for the health and wellbeing of the disaster-stricken population. For decades, the World Health Organization has worked to save lives and reduce suffering in times of crises. One way in which this is accomplished is by strengthening the capacity and resilience of health facilities, health systems and countries to mitigate and manage disasters.

For this reason, I am pleased that WHO is partnering with the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) on the 2008-2009 World Disaster Reduction Campaign on Hospitals Safe from Disasters.

Message from Dr Hussein A. Gezairy, WHO-EMRO

CAIRO, 3 February 2008.  Message from WHO Regional Director of the Eastern Mediterranean Region on the occasion of the regional launch of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign 2008-2009: Hospitals Safe from Disasters.

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Statement from Dr Margaret Chan

Director-General of the World Health Organization

Satement on the World Health Day 2009 - 7 April 2009¦ When an emergency or disaster occurs, most lives are lost or saved in the immediate aftermath of the event. People count on hospitals and health facilities to respond, swiftly and efficiently, as the lifeline for survival and the backbone of support.

The tragedy of a major emergency or disaster is compounded when health facilities fail. When a hospital collapses or its functions are disrupted, lives that depend on emergency care can be lost. Interruptions in routine services can also be deadly.

Message from Mr Sálvano Briceño

Director, UNISDR

A safety net for everyone, at all times

When disasters strike, aid agencies, communities, the media, and governments focus immediately on the victims. But if our focus on victims is to have real meaning, we must prioritize a deeper understanding and support of medical care.

Those who are injured need urgent medical attention, but those who escape injury have not escaped the long-term need for medical care and public health after the disaster is forgotten. When health services and hospitals fail due to disaster, people die and suffer needlessly both during the disaster and long into the future.

Message from Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO-SEARO

NEW DELHI, 14 April 2008.  Message from Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director of WHO-South East Asia Regional Office on the occasion of the South East Asia regional launch of the World Campaign for Disaster Reduction: Hospitals Safe from Disasters.

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Message from Mr Hatem El-Gabali, Egyptian Government

CAIRO, 3 February 2008. Message from the Minister of Health and Population of Egypt on the occasion of the regional launch of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign 2008-2009: Hospitals Safe from Disasters.

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Available in Arabic only