World Health Day 2007 – Invest in health, build a safer future

International health security was the theme for World Health Day 2007. Health systems need to be ready to handle crises affecting public health, thus minimizing damage to people, the community and the economy.

  • Infectious diseases can cause sudden, large-scale harm to the health and welfare of entire populations through epidemics, as well as threatening economic stability and human development over the long term.
  • In the past 15 years, natural disasters and major accidents in the WHO European Region have killed over 98 000 people and affected more than 42 million. Violent conflict has caused tremendous human suffering and more than 300 000 deaths.
  • Global environmental changes are associated with an increasing number and severity of events, such as floods and heat-waves, that harm health.

The International Health Regulations provide the legal framework for protecting health against threats of any kind. They come into effect in June 2007.

WHO/Europe is preparing a special discussion paper on health security and health crises, to provide more information for policy-makers.