Tomorrow is World Health Day, an annual event that focuses on the issue of healthcare infrastructure. This year, it aims to tackle the safety of facilities and the readiness of health workers who treat those affected by emergencies. While we in the United States worry about losing our health insurance, Cyclone Nargis left 138,366 people dead or missing in Myanmar and the earthquake in southwestern China’s Sichuan province killed 87,476 people. Even though these events seem very far away from our daily lives, they’re devastating to our global neighbors.
Just as disastrous as the cyclone is the medical infrastructure in Myanmar and other developing countries. When people in the underdeveloped countries are injured and sent to hospitals, they might not be cured perfectly because of the lack of advanced medical facilities and doctors. These people are much more likely to die in the hospital than citizens of developed countries are. Establishing safe health-related facilities that provide emergency care, collect and analyze data on illness and deaths, deliver longer-term health care before and after an emergency and provide immunization services are critical to the health of people in the region. By keeping health facilities safe, we can save more lives, decrease health care costs and safeguard social stability. Please call or send a letter to your local congressperson asking him or her to support bills that help keep health facilities safe in the United States and worldwide.