World health day: The World Health Organization (WHO) is an independent organisation that works with the UN to promote global health-related concerns. It develops clinical guidelines, studies illnesses, and deals with pandemics, epidemics, and crises like COVID-19. WHO also compiles information on global health problems. World Health Day is observed on April 7 to commemorate the date the WHO was established.
World Health Day 2023: Theme
The WHO celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. World Health Day’s theme, chosen by the WHO as part of the festivities, is “Health for All.” The WHO will reflect on its previous successes in enhancing public health and the quality of life while also examining the current and upcoming health problems.
World Health Day: History
In order to advance global peace, security, and higher living conditions, the United Nations (UN) was established on October 24, 1945. Public health was one of the main components of improved living. An international organisation for health has been proposed by the diplomats who contributed to the founding of the UN. The World Health Organization’s constitution was established on April 7, 1948, making it a reality.
The World Health Assembly (WHA) was established to oversee World Health Organization operations through its member nations. The inaugural WHA meeting was held on July 24, 1948. The WHO was formed by the merger of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the Office International d’Hygiène Publique, and the Health Organization of the League of Nations. After amassing sufficient monetary resources, it started operating efficiently in 1951.
Now, the WHO works with governments to improve people’s health and has 194 member states and more than 7,000 employees. The WHO constitution was adopted on January 12, 1948, including India as a member.
World Health Day: Significance
Every year on April 7th, World Health Day raises awareness of the global health problems that people face. It provides information on how to solve concerns with global health as part of the UN’s sustainable development agenda to people, organisations, and governments.
The WHO Calls For Health Equity
Seventy-five years ago, after years of war, the nations of the world agreed to set up a new organisation and “debated and agreed what this organisation would be and do in a document called the Constitution of the World Health Organisation,” the organisation`s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, recalled at a press briefing here on Thursday.
“Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the day that the Constitution came into force. It was, and is a landmark document,” he said.
The past decades have witnessed extraordinary progress in protecting people from diseases and destruction, including smallpox eradication, reducing the incidence of polio by 99 per cent, saving millions of lives through childhood immunisation, declines in maternal mortality, and improving health and well-being for millions more, Xinhua news agency reported.
“And for the past three years, the WHO has coordinated the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic — the most severe health crisis in a century. We can`t claim sole credit for these achievements, but we have played a leading role in all of them,” Tedros added.
Despite the achievements, the WHO Chief said that the world is still faced with many old and new challenges, particularly vast inequities in access to health services, major gaps in defence against health emergencies, and threats from health-harming products and the climate crisis.
To meet these challenges, the WHO urges countries to take urgent action to protect, support and expand the health workforce as a strategic priority. To avert a shortage of 10 million health workers globally by 2030, primarily in low and middle-income countries, the WHO recommends that investments in education, skills and decent jobs for health should be prioritised.
It has recently initiated a global education programme on basic emergency care targeting 25 per cent of nurses and midwives in 25 low and middle-income countries by the end of 2025. The programme will provide nurses and midwives with the skills and competencies needed to make a major difference in saving lives.
“The WHO`s own story began 75 years ago, and it is still being written. The challenges we face today are very different to those in 1948, but our vision remains unchanged: the highest possible standard of health, for all people,” Tedros added.
(With inputs from IANS)