The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO).
In 1948, the WHO held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. The World Health Day is held to mark WHO’s founding, and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year The WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the Day related to a particular theme. Resources provided continue beyond 7 April, that is, the designated day for celebrating the World Health Day.
World Health Day is acknowledged by various governments and non-governmental organizations with interests in public health issues, who also organize activities and highlight their support in media reports, such as through press releases issued in recent years by State Hillaryand the Global Health Council.
World Health Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by WHO, along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Hepatitis Day, and World AIDS Day.
World Health Day 2015: Food safety
The WHO is promoting improvement of food safety as part of the 2015 World Health Day campaign.Unsafe food — food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances — is responsible for more than 200 diseases, and is linked to the deaths of some 2 million people annually, mostly children.
Changes in food production, distribution and consumption; changes to the environment; new and emerging pathogens; and antimicrobial resistance all pose challenges to food safety systems.
The WHO is working with countries and partners to strengthen efforts to prevent, detect and respond to food borne disease outbreaks in line with the Codex Alimentations. The organization advocates food safety is a shared responsibility— from farmers and manufacturers to vendors and consumers — and is raising awareness about the importance of the part everyone can play in ensuring that the food on our plate is safe to eat.
World Health Day is on the 7th of April each year. This day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization which was founded in 1948.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the leading global health authority within the United Nations System. The work of WHO is varied and can mostly be summarized through their 6 point agenda.
- Promote Development – poverty is linked to poor health; by promoting development poverty falls and the overall health of a given population improves.
- Fosters Health Security – WHO takes steps to increase health security by reducing health risks from outbreaks of new, existing & mutating diseases.
- Strengthens Health Systems – in poorer countries many health systems are inadequate. WHO strengthens these systems through various means which may include the provision of funding, access to drugs and relevant technology, data collection systems and trained staff.
- Harnesses information, research and evidence – WHO uses evidence as a sound basis for setting health priorities, strategies and measuring results. In consultation with leading health experts, WHO provides authoritative health information.
- Enhances Partnerships – WHO works closely with many health organizations around the world. WHO aims to improve or enhance the work of these organizations by encouraging them to use their evidence based practices and follow their technical guidelines when implementing their health programs.
- Improves Performance – WHO also strives to improve the performance of its own organization. In order to improve the performance or effectiveness of an organization there needs to be clear results which can be measured and compared. WHO improves performance by implementing results based management, which provide clear results and goals which can be measured on a regional, country or international level.
WHO use the anniversary of their founding day not only as an opportunity to celebrate the organization and its work but also as an opportunity to highlight a current global health priority.
For each World Health Day, WHO designates a health challenge or theme. Previous years themes have included:
- Road Safety (2005)
- Shape The Future Of Life (2003)
- Protecting Health From Climate Change (2008)
- International Health Security (2007)
- Anti micro bacterial Resistance: No Action Today No Cure Tomorrow (2011)
The theme for 2012 World Health Day is ‘Aging and Health’. As with other years themes, this theme is set in accordance to what WHO regards as current health issues within the world. The worlds population is aging; people are living longer.
WHO provides a toolkit to event organizers which includes the materials such as:
- aging and health information
- advice on how to engage with the media and use social networks to promote the day
- a list of technical and communication support contacts
- clearly defined messages and calls to action
- information on how to plan and run events and campaigns
The slogan for 2012 World Health Day is: ‘Good Health Adds Life To Years’. This slogan helps reflect the WHO message that when people improve their health they enjoy fuller lives without the burden of health complications such as pain or disability, remain productive for longer and continue to contribute more to society.
A key message of this day is that older people in good health are a valuable resource and should be valued.
Themes of previous World Health Days
2014: small bite, bit
World Health Day 2014 put the spotlight on some of the most commonly known vectors – such as mosquitoes, sand flies, bugs, ticks and snails – responsible for transmitting a wide range of parasites and pathogens that can cause many different illnesses. Mosquitoes, for example, transmit malaria – the most deadly vector-borne disease, causing an estimated 660 000 deaths annually worldwide – as well as dengue fever, lymphatic filariasis, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever. More than half of the world’s population is at risk of these diseases.
The goal of the World Health Day 2014 campaign was better protection from vector-borne diseases, especially for families living in areas where diseases are transmitted by vectors, and travelers to countries where they pose a health threat. The campaign advocated for health authorities in countries where vector-borne diseases are a public health problem or emerging threat, to put in place measures to improve surveillance and protection.
2013: healthy blood pressure
The theme of World Health Day 2013, marked on 7 April 2013, was the need to control raised blood pressure (hypertension) as a “silent killer, global public health crisis”. The slogan for the campaign was “Healthy Heart Beat, Healthy Blood Pressure”. The WHO reports hypertension – which is both preventable and treatable – contributes to the burden of heart disease,stroke and kidney failure, and is an important cause of premature death and disability. The organization estimates one in 3 adults has raised blood pressure.
Specific objectives of the World Health Day 2013 campaign were to:
- raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure;
- provide information on how to prevent high blood pressure and related complications;
- encourage adults to check their blood pressure and follow the advice of healthcare professionals;
- encourage self care to prevent high blood pressure;
- to make blood pressure measurement affordable to all;
- to incite national and local authorities to create enabling environments for healthy behaviors.
2012: ageing and health
World Health Day 2012 was marked with the slogan “Good health adds life to years”. Life expectancy is going up in most countries, meaning more and more people live longer and enter an age when they may need health care. Meanwhile birth rates are generally falling. Countries and health care systems need to find innovative and sustainable ways to cope with the demographic shift. As stated by John Beard, director of the WHO Department of Ageing and Life Course, “With the rapid ageing of populations, finding the right model for long-term carebecomes more and more urgent.”
Different activities were organized by WHO as well as non-governmental and community organizations around the world to mark World Health Day 2012. For example, Yogathon (an Art of Living Initiative) – a marathon of Surya Namaskar – happened in 100+ cities across the globe. Millions of people participated in that event to make awareness of Yoga as a part of healthy living. The event focused on prevention and not just medical treatment of chronic diseases, which remain unaffordable to many people.
2010: urbanization and health
With the campaign “1000 cities, 1000 lives”, events were organized worldwide during the week starting 7 April 2010. The global goals of the campaign were:
- 1000 cities: to open up public spaces to health, whether it be activities in parks, town hall meetings, clean-up campaigns, or closing off portions of streets to motorized vehicles.
- 1000 lives: to collect 1000 stories of urban health champions who have taken action and had a significant impact on health in their cities.
2009: save lives. Make hospitals safe in emergency
World Health Day 2009 focused on the safety of health facilities and the readiness of health workers who treat those affected by emergencies. Health centres and staff are critical lifelines for vulnerable people in disasters – treating injuries, preventing illnesses and caring for people’s health needs. Often, already fragile health systems are unable to keep functioning through a disaster, with immediate and future public health consequences.
For this year’s World Health Day campaign, WHO and international partners underscored the importance of investing in health infrastructure that can withstand hazards and serve people in immediate need, and urged health facilities to implement systems to respond to internal emergencies, such as fires, and ensure the continuity of care.
2006: working together for health
Nations identified with critical health worker shortages
In 2006, World Health Day was devoted to the health workforce crisis, or chronic shortages of health workers around the world due to decades of underinvestment in their education, training, salaries, working environment and management. The day was also meant to celebrate individual health workers – the people who provide health care to those who need it, in other words those at the heart of health systems.
The Day also marked the launch of the WHO’s World Health Report 2006, which focused on the same theme. The report contained an assessment of the current crisis in the global health workforce, revealing an estimated shortage of almost 4.3 million physicians, midwives, nurses and other health care providers worldwide, and further proposed a series of actions for countries and the international community to tackle it.