Why World Health Day?
World Health Day is based on the date the World Health Organization (WHO) was founded back in 1948. This day of action reminds us that good health cannot be taken for granted while raising awareness pertaining to global disparities in both healthcare and wellness. In raising awareness, the hope is to catalyze the world into action in developing and supporting national health care systems.
Health – what does it mean?
Health is defined in the WHO Constitution as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. It is also understood as an essential part of everyday life. A healthy person feels good mentally, has friends and social contacts. To achieve this state everyone should be able to acknowledge and fulfill their needs, wishes and hopes and have the opportunity to master and change their environment.
Equal opportunities for good health
World Health Day 2021 operates under the mindset of “Building a fairer, healthier world”. Health equity is a motto chosen in connection with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, as this crisis has highlighted inequalities in many regions and countries. A WHO virtual press conference is to take place on April 7th (World Health Day) and marks the starting point of a campaign on this year’s topic, which will continue through the end of the year.*
Health still cannot be taken for granted
Even in the 21st century, many cannot expect a right as basic as good health to be fulfilled. Thousands of people still die every day from curable diseases, inadequate hygiene and polluted drinking water. Vaccinations? Medication? Or even preventative medicine? In many countries and regions, a visit to a doctor is not even a luxury for the rich, but virtually impossible because of a total lack of health care professionals. A vicious circle is the end-result; the fight against poverty cannot be won when good health cannot be ensured, and good health cannot be ensured in impoverished countries and regions.
Health is a process
Thankfully, there are many around the world committed to changing this situation, establishing educational opportunities, fighting diseases and creating access to essential medicine. But since the COVID-19 outbreak, even in Germany, we have learnt through experience that progress is laboriously fought for and containment of an epidemic is extremely difficult. COVID-19 hit the entire globe hard, but it has been particularly brutal in countries that were already vulnerable and didn’t have a (functioning) healthcare system to begin with. The goal of WHO in creating good health for everyone is still a long way off even in 2021. Let’s do what each and every one of us can to achieve it: whether that manifests itself in solidarity during Corona or in the support of aid organizations, whether it is careful use and division of resources or action against pollution – there are many small pieces of the puzzle that we can put together to ultimately lead us to a better world. Think globally, act socially and please, take part.