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Calls for Emergency Medical Services to Protect Rural Populations

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York) – On World Health Day, World Lung Foundation calls on government health ministries and NGOs to address a neglected need for emergency services in rural areas, particularly in Africa.

The World Health Organization’s emphasis for World Health Day 2009 is on the resilience and safety of health facilities and the health workers who treat those affected by emergencies.  Many of the world’s rural areas, however, have very few trained health workers and almost no emergency facilities.

Training existing workers in basic emergency surgery has been shown to reduce the number of maternal and newborn deaths in rural populations. In one World Lung Foundation project in rural Tanzania, case fatality from complicated deliveries is expected to shrink from 1.2% to less than 1%, saving the lives of 360 mothers and 1,500 newborn children each year.

“Despite global trends of urbanization, more than three billion people live in rural areas and these people have far fewer options for emergency services,” said Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation. “Training TB case workers, HIV medical staff and other general public health staff in basic emergency procedures can fill this void quickly and effectively.”