World Health Day marks the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 7, 1948.
“Our planet, our health” is the message for World Health Day 2022. The WHO estimates that 13.5 million worldwide deaths occur each year because of avoidable environmental causes. It names climate as the “single biggest health threat facing humanity.”
The organization promotes an ambitious creed of health, equality, and green initiatives worldwide. WHO promotes its stances on all social media platforms and has been particularly active during the Covid pandemic. It stands firmly behind masks, social distancing, vaccines, and warns of the threat of new variants.
Leading the Way to Eradicate Smallpox
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations. Containing 194 member states, it meets at the World Health Assembly in Geneva each year to set policies and budgets.
WHO develops partnerships worldwide to promote, support, and monitor health issues. The initial focus was on the health of women and children, nutrition, sanitation, and the fight against malaria and tuberculosis. It has broadened outreach to include the dangers of climate change, driving safety, drugs, and tobacco.
Successes the organization has achieved include helping to eradicate smallpox by leading a worldwide collaborative vaccination program. WHO is also credited for its response to the SARS epidemic and increasing the number of people with health coverage worldwide.
Next Up, Tuberculosis
The World Health Organization currently leads a worldwide effort against tuberculosis. It strives for a 90 percent reduction in TB deaths by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction in the incidence rate.
It set a fundraising goal of $13 billion annually for TB diagnosis, treatment, and care, beginning in 2020, but the Covid pandemic and global conflicts have restricted that effort.
“Urgent investments are needed to develop and expand access to the most innovative services and tools to prevent, detect and treat TB that could save millions of lives each year, narrow inequities and avert huge economic losses,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Not Health for Some, Health for All
Originally from Ethiopia, Dr. Ghebreyesus currently serves as the WHO Director-General. He is the first African to serve in the role.
“Our vision is not health for some,” Dr. Ghebreyesus states. “It’s not health for most. It’s health for all: rich and poor, able and disabled, old and young, urban and rural, citizen and refugee. Everyone, everywhere.”