According to the World Health Organization (WHO), natural disasters kill approximately 90,000 people and impact another 160 million people every year (2015). Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and wildfires not only have an immediate impact on those who live in and around the affected area, they also often have a longer-term effect on the health and well-being of those impacted. Developing countries are frequently unable to respond to natural disasters effectively and efficiently because they lack resources, infrastructure, and disaster-preparedness systems.Poor health care systems in developing countries also make these countries more vulnerable to epidemics such as the recent outbreak of Ebola in Chad, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. According to a report from Save the Children (2015), some developing countries have less than one health care worker for every 2,000 people. Other diseases such as malaria and pneumonia account for as many as 17,000 child deaths every day (Save the Children, 2015).
Nurses can provide critical skills during times of global events. Whether by volunteering directly at the site of the event or by recruiting, screening, and training other professional nurses behind the scenes, nurses are crucial to global relief efforts