World Health Day

Today is World Health Day, a day dedicated to creating awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organisation or WHO. This day has, over the past 50 years, from its inception in 1948

April 7 of each year marks the celebration of World Health Day. From its inception at the First Health Assembly in 1948 and since taking effect in 1950, the celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization.

The World Health Day has a large number of wide-reaching aims and priorities including to improve understanding of universal health coverage and the importance of primary health care as its foundation, to spur action from individuals, policy-makers and health-care workers to make universal health care a reality for everyone, everyone should have the information and services they need to take care of their own health and the health of their families and to have skilled health workers providing quality, people-centred care; and policy-makers committed to investing in primary health care.

The theme for the 2021 World Heath Day is to build a fairer, healthier world. Why is this so? Because this world is an unequal world. As COVID-19 has highlighted, some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others and this is entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age. All over the world, some groups struggle to make ends meet with little daily income, have poorer housing conditions and education, fewer employment opportunities, experience greater gender inequality, and have little or no access to safe environments, clean water and air, food security and health services. This leads to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death. And it harms our societies and economies. Not only is this unfair, it is preventable. That’s why world leaders are being called upon to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions that are conducive to good health as well as to monitor health inequities, and to ensure that all people are able to access quality health services when and where they need them.

2021 has also been designated as the International Year of Health and Care Workers (YHCW) in appreciation and gratitude for their unwavering dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the theme of Protect, Invest and Together, a year-long campaign which highlights the urgent need to invest in health workers for shared dividends in health, jobs, economic opportunity and equity, has been launched by the WHO. The campaign’s objectives is to ensure the world’s health and care workers are prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine in the first 100 days of 2021, recognise and commemorate all health and care workers who have lost their lives during the pandemic, mobilise commitments from countries, international financing Institutions and bilateral and philanthropic partners to protect and invest in health and care workers, engage countries and all relevant stakeholders in dialogue on a care compact to protect health and care workers’ rights, decent work and practice environments and bring together communities, influencers, political and social support in solidarity, advocacy and care for health and care workers.

This year, please support to ensure that our health and care workforces are supported, protected, motivated and equipped to deliver safe health care at all times, not only during COVID-19. The pandemic of COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, who are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health care services and more likely to experience adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic.

Therefore it is more than important to have a healthier world, one where everyone has access to the healthcare they need.

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