World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 to commemorate the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948.
Since 1950, World Health Day has been held annually to raise awareness of the major public health problems facing the international community around the world. On this day, long-term health education programs begin and continue long after April 7th.
Each year, a World Health Day theme is selected that highlights one of the priority areas of WHO's work.
In 2018, World Health Day was held under the slogan “Health for All”. In 2019, WHO focused on the topic of universal health coverage. In 2020, World Health Day was held in support of nurses and midwives as part of the International Year of Nursing and Midwifery Workers.
In 2021, World Health Day will be held under the motto “Build a fairer, healthier world”.
According to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequalities in access to health care both within and between countries, gaps in the social protection system, and most importantly, the international community's unpreparedness for the global health crisis.
At least half of the world's population does not have the opportunity to use the most basic medical services, and 800 million people on Earth spend 10% of their budget on medical care.
WHO experts note that the greatest blow to the pandemic of the new coronavirus was for those communities whose position was vulnerable even before the pandemic. These populations are the most at risk of disease, have fewer opportunities to receive quality health care, and are most affected by the negative impact of measures taken to contain the pandemic.
At the same time, WHO notes that these manifestations of inequality are not new. Despite the fact that the world has seen an increase in average health indicators, life expectancy and a decrease in the level of premature mortality, these achievements are unevenly distributed among representatives of different sectors of society. Differences are also observed in every age group, from early years to very old age.
WHO experts also note that due to the outbreak of a new deadly disease, many hospitals were overcrowded and were unable to provide support to everyone who needed it. Not only many people with COVID-19 were left without medical care, but also patients with cancer and other chronic diseases.
At the same time, the WHO warns of a possible failure in the fight against COVID-19 due to unequal access to vaccine among high and low income countries.
WHO experts also draw attention to the global shortage of medical personnel, which WHO estimates is 2.5 million doctors, 9 million nurses and midwives, and 6 million other health professionals. The problem is most acute in poor countries, but also in advanced economies, the medical workforce is too often concentrated in cities, which reduces the quality of care in rural and remote areas.
On World Health Day, WHO calls for the engagement of all sectors of government to tackle the root causes of inequality and to scale up resources for primary health care
The material was prepared on the basis of information from RIA Novosti and open sources