The World Health Organisation (WHO) was founded on 7 April 1948 – a date that is now celebrated yearly as World Health Day. WHO employs approximately 7 000 people in more than 150 countries. WHO selects a key global health issue every year and organises international, regional and local events on the day and throughout the year, to highlight the selected issue.
In 2021, it will be no different. WHO is focussing their theme on “Building a fairer, healthier world.” With the emphasis still on COVID-19, WHO is highlighting healthier lives and better access to health services.
It is a known fact that COVID-19 has hit all countries hard. Unfortunately, more so for some than others. The virus is still present in almost every part of the world, but the focus has slowly shifted from Asia to Europe and then America.
The two-week infection rate is a useful indicator to identify where the situation is the worst at any given time.
It is fair to state that the true number of cases everywhere is unknown. Only people who tested positive are counted, but many are either asymptomatic, or they are not badly affected and therefore, not tested. Testing data is not available for all the countries, and this is particularly the case in Africa. Also, the frequency in which countries update this information differs. It is unfortunately not a perfect world we live in.
Getting back to the focus of the 2021 World Health Day, we need to become more aware that things will never be the same and we need to up our hygiene game and help with this where possible.
In the eyes of WHO, our world is an unequal one and we cannot disagree. Some people are able to live a healthier life and have more access to certain health services, due to conditions that they are born in, work in and live in. The less fortunate and already vulnerable, on the other hand, are more exposed to diseases due to poor hygienic circumstances. They are less likely to have access to quality healthcare services and more likely to experience severe consequences.
Although WHO is looking at COVID-19 circumstances, this was not their only focus for their World Health Day theme in 2021. WHO is also keeping an eye on those with little daily income and poorer housing conditions – the unfortunate ones who experience greater gender inequality and those who have little or no access to clean water, food or safe environments.
WHO advises that although the circumstances of these unfortunate communities are unfair, it is preventable and calls on all leaders to focus on providing better living and working conditions. They also encourage good health standards and access to quality health services.
As individuals, we are able to help the world by supporting World Health Day initiatives. We also need to consider and be thankful for what we have and give our support by keeping up with the fundamental COVID-19 rules, in other words washing our hands frequently, keeping safe distances, making sure we respect others in this battle and supporting those who are unable to or do not have access to clean water, hand sanitisers or facilities, by providing access or donating items to communities in need.
What does World Health Day mean in our “world”? We can overcome whatever life throws at us if we stand together as one and help those far less fortunate than ourselves.
Find out more on the WHO’s website.
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is celebrated annually on 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.