World Health Day is a date celebrated annually, and each year draws attention to a specific health issue that concerns people around the world. April 7 was chosen because it coincides with the founding anniversary of WHO (World Health Organization), which was born in 1948.

On the indicated date, WHO also held the First World Health Assembly (WHA). WHA is the WHO decision-making body, currently composed of 194 member countries through their respective ministers of health. After some time, more precisely in 1950, the commemoration of World Health Day became official, being celebrated until today. The date aims to create awareness about a specific health issue, to highlight a priority area of concern for WHO.

In the year 2021, the theme chosen for the campaign was: "Building a fairer and healthier world". The focus is on reversing the situation of society that is in an unequal world, in addition to warning that such a situation is not only unfair but also preventable.

As COVID-19 pointed out, some people can live healthier and have better access to health services than others - entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow up, live, work and age.

COVID-19 hit all countries hard, but its impact was more severe on communities that were already vulnerable, that are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health services, and more likely to suffer adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic.

"We must address the causes of health inequity today, to ensure a safer and healthier tomorrow."

The phrase above is quoted by Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for Western Pacific.

Below are some of the consequences of inequality, especially in the current situation in which we live (amid a pandemic):

For the first time in 20 years, global levels of poverty are expected to rise and hinder progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals;

  • Up to 60% of people living in some countries in the Region lack coverage with essential health services;
  • More than 1 billion people living in informal settlements or slums are facing increasing challenges in preventing infection and transmission of the coronavirus;
  • The Asia-Pacific region as a whole account for almost 82.5 million or 32% of the world's international migrants;
  • 5.9 million children in the Asia-Pacific region are at risk of not returning to school due to disruption of education and the economic impact of the pandemic;
  • 52% of the Asia-Pacific population remains disconnected from the Internet.

And so we continue to fight so that the entire population can have the same rights, especially the right to health. At the same time, we ask leaders to monitor health inequities and ensure that everyone has access to quality health services when and where they need them.

Source: World Health Organization