Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-04-05-Speech-3-313"

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"Mr President, good health is invaluable and it is thus not surprising that in the developed world we invest so much in healthcare and we expect to receive the best treatment whenever the need arises. But to have an effective healthcare system in operation, we need healthcare workers, people who are well trained, committed, and who are devoted to the care of their fellow human beings. The healthcare workers are the backbone of our health systems and to them we owe more than words can express. However, the case with the developing world regarding health is, unfortunately, completely and shamefully different. There, good health is mostly the exception rather than the rule. Allow me to give you some figures in order to illustrate the point. One index figure that can be used to assess health provision in a country is, as has already been mentioned, the infant mortality rate. That is a measure of how many infants die per 1000 live births. The infant mortality rate in a country like Sweden, Germany or France – in fact most EU States – is around five deaths per 1000 live births. The corresponding figure in countries like Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Liberia is about 140 deaths per 1000 live births, and in Angola it is about 200 deaths per 1000 live births. In other words, the chance of an infant dying in Angola is about 4000% more than it is in an EU country. A premature or ill baby in Angola has a next to nil chance of surviving. In many Third World countries basic healthcare is almost totally lacking and the few brave health workers who find themselves in those countries have to battle against all the odds to save life and limb. They have to cope with lack of infrastructure, lack of equipment, lack of medicines and a lack of understanding of hygiene by the population. Very often they are persecuted, arrested, tortured or murdered when caught up in local wars or social uprisings. In these areas, to be a health worker should be regarded as being a hero. These people deserve not just our admiration and respect but our active support, and we must do our utmost to provide them with all the help they need. We owe it to them and we owe it to our conscience."@en1

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