World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific

World Health Day

World Health Day 2009

April 7 of each year marks the celebration of World Health Day. From its inception at the First Health Assembly in 1948 and since taking effect in 1950, the celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization.

Over the past 50 years this has brought to light important health issues such as mental health, maternal and child care, and climate change. The celebration is marked by activities which extend beyond the day itself and serves as an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on these important aspects of global health.

Save lives! Make hospitals safe in emergencies

World Health Day 2009 focuses on the safety of health facilities as well as the readiness of health workers to respond to the needs of those affected by emergencies. The theme underscores the importance of these institutions during times of disasters and crises.

During these emergencies, the health centers and staff are not only expected to continue to provide primary health care but also to provide services to answer to these disasters. When health facilities are damaged or fail to function after disasters, it further adds to the suffering and increases the risk of death or disability among the affected people.The theme emphasizes the 2008-2009 World Disaster Reduction Campaign on Hospitals Safe from Disasters.

This global campaign is organized by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and WHO, with support from the World Bank. Activities in the Western Pacific are coordinated by WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WHO-WPRO) and the Ministries of Health of Member States and supported by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department.

[Read more about World Health Day]



WHO/WPRO World Health Day 2009 Celebration

The Western Pacific Regional Office celebrated World Health Day with the regional launch held at the WHO Conference Hall. The event was marked by key messages and video presentations centered on the theme "Save Lives! Make Hospitals Safe in Emergencies."

[Read more about the WPRO Celebration]




A Message from the Director-General


In her statement for World Health Day 2009, Dr. Margaret Chan discusses the importance of ensuring that health facilities are safe, resilient, and able to function in times of disasters and emergencies.


[Click here to view statement]


A Message from the Regional Director



Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO's Regional Director for the Western Pacific, shares the significance of this year's theme and its relevance not only to the Western Pacific region but to the rest of the world.



[Click here to view statement]





An Interview with the Regional Director

In an interview to mark World Health Day, Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO's Regional Director for the Western Pacific, outlines the challenges to be faced in making the Region's hospitals and health facilities safe in disaster.

[Click here to view video]


WPRO World Health Day 2009 Advocacy Video


World Health Day 2009 focuses on the importance of safe health facilities, underscoring the importance of these institutions during times of disasters.

[Click here to view video]


WHO Press Release for World Health Day 2009


Recognizing the need for disaster-resistant hospitals, the World Health Organization dedicates World Health Day to the challenge of making hospitals and other health facilities safe in emergencies and ensuring that health workers are trained to treat injuries and care for those affected.

[Click here to view statement]





World Health Day Calendar of Activities

This year people from all over the world will celebrate World Health Day and its theme of making hospitals safe from disaster. View the activities of your country and of others around the region and see how you can participate in the celebration!


[Read more about WHD activities]










                                     This campaign is supported by the
                        European Commission Humanitarian Aid department




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