We’d all like to rest easy knowing that if an emergency were to rip through our city, there would be a safe place to turn to for help. But what if you couldn’t get the help you need because the systems designed to protect you were a hot mess? Or what if the hospitals around you were all stretched beyond their capacity?
Well that’s at the forefront of the World Health Organization’s mission for this year’s World Health Day: the safety of health facilities, readiness during emergencies and systems that can handle those affected by disasters such as fires, earthquakes, wars, disease and floods.
Last year alone, 321 natural disasters killed 235,816 people—almost four times higher than the average annual total for the previous seven years. And although only 11 percent of people exposed to natural disasters live in developing countries, they account for 53 percent of deaths caused by them. In addition, 1.2 million people die in road traffic accidents, 300,000 deaths are caused by fires each year and 162 outbreaks of infectious diseases appeared in 75 countries in the 12 months leading up to May 31 of last year (all according to the WHO).
But with preparation, training and solid emergency plans lives can be saved. Mexico has already established a Hospital Safety Index that has been used on more than 100 health facilities to determine which ones are safe and which ones need to be improved.
Visit who.int to learn more about World Health Day and what’s being done to make hospitals safer for emergencies.