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PAHO Supports Campaign to Make Schools and Hospitals Safer

Washington, D.C., 9 April, 2010 (PAHO) — The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is pledging its support to the One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Campaign launched April 8 in Manila. The goal of the new United Nations global campaign is to protect health and educational facilities—along with the millions of people who rely on them for healthcare and learning—during emergencies.

"Hospitals are critical for saving lives and reducing suffering in the event of emergencies, while schools should be safe havens for the children who attend them every day. This campaign calls on everyone who benefits from both schools and hospitals to get involved in making them safe in the event of disasters, and really, that means all of us." said Dr. Mirta Roses, PAHO Director.

There are three ways individuals and organizations can support the campaign:

  • By raising awareness about safe schools and hospitals;
  • By leading or supporting safety and disaster preparedness activities;
  • By donating time and/or resources to make hospitals and schools safer by purchasing new safety equipment, maintaining surroundings and repairing facilities.

In pledging its support to the campaign, PAHO continues its longstanding advocacy and collaboration with governments, health professionals and other partners in its Member States to ensure the preparedness and structural and functional safety of health facilities so they can continue treating people who need health care following emergencies.

The One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Campaign was launched during the opening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Forum on Safe Hospitals in Manila, which was attended by governments throughout the South-East Asia region, United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

The new campaign is part of the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign, Building resilient cities, addressing urban risk.

The launch took place a day after PAHO/WHO marked World Health Day 2010, whose theme is "urbanism and health." It highlights the impact of urban living on health and encourages efforts to make cities healthier places to live, including by making urban areas resilient to emergencies and disasters.

PAHO was established in 1902 and is the world’s oldest public health organization. It works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of the people of the Americas and serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

This press release will also be available in Spanish at


For more information please contact: Donna Eberwine-Villagrán This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Tel. 202 974 3122.

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