Every year on April 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World Health Day by highlighting a timely theme in the medical and wellness world. Last year’s theme celebrated the work of nurses and midwives and highlighted their crucial part in the response to the pandemic.
This year the campaign is building a fairer, healthier world in the wake of the health inequities highlighted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Worldwide, many struggle to make ends meet with little income, poor housing conditions, limited access to healthcare, few employment and education opportunities, and greater gender inequality and minimal food security. All of these conditions lead to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death.
By shining a light on health care inequities worldwide, WHO hopes to motivate world leaders to ensure everyone can enjoy working and living conditions that are conducive to good health.
COVID-19 has had devastating impacts worldwide, but its impact has been harshest in communities with:
- vulnerable populations and higher community spread,
- reduced access to quality health care,
- more unfavorable consequences resulting from COVID-19 mitigation measures
History of World Health Day
To understand World Health Day’s origins, we need to talk about the World Health Organization, which was founded in 1946 when officials in China and Brazil proposed creating an all-encompassing international health organization independent from any government powers. In 1948, 61 countries signed an agreement, and WHO went into force.
One of the first things WHO did was create World Health Day, which was first observed on July 22, 1949. Officials eventually changed the date of World Health Day to April 7 to encourage student participation.
Since 1950, it has been celebrated a different theme selected by the WHO Director-General based on member governments and staff suggestions.
World Health Day provides a global chance to focus on important public health issues that impact the entire International community.
The World Health Day Tradition
As we mentioned, every year, the theme pertains to what’s impacting health worldwide the most significantly. This theme is highlighted in schools, workshops, and seminars. The day is all about creating awareness around health issues of the less fortunate in poor regions worldwide and reminding ourselves to be grateful for good health and take better care of our bodies.
Outdoor activities like hiking and cycling are organized to celebrate World Health Day in addition to charity drives and fundraisers.
How to Observe World Health Day
- Organize a conversation, fundraising drive, or outdoor activity in your community. WHO even provides free information toolkits for organizers. Take the challenge to lead your community’s celebration and fundraising efforts to make a change.
- Read about the themes of days past. There are more than 50 years of past World Health Days in the archives. Read up on past themes and see how far — or not, we’ve come in health care.
Don’t forget to thank your nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers who have worked tirelessly for their communities and the greater good of the world during the pandemic.