Recognizing World Health Day 2022
Created by the World Health Organisation (WHO) itself, World Health Day aims to highlight the urgency of planetary and human health and how to foster societies focused on well-being.
First celebrated in 1950 after being incepted at the First Health Assembly in 1948, the date of April 7th was chosen for World Health Day, as a way to also mark the anniversary of the WHO.
Our health and the environment
All living creatures are interconnected with nature, and the WHO estimates that some 13 million annual deaths around the world are caused by avoidable environmental factors, which include the biggest threat to humanity: the climate crisis.
Among the ways the health of societies can suffer from environmental factors include:
- Breathing in unhealthy air due to the burning of fossil fuels,
- Extreme weather events and land degradation leading to the displacement of communities,
- Warmer temperatures and climate causing the increase of mosquito-spread diseases,
- Pollution of seas, oceans, and lands that have made their way into our food chain, and
- Human activity of mass-producing food, that not only leads to increased consumption of unhealthy food causing cancer and cardiovascular disease, but also releases greenhouse gases into the environment.
Doing well on well-being
Government policies, availability public information, and community and individual actions are all factors that can affect local and global well-being.
Certain countries have started implementing national agendas on measuring the physical health and happiness of their citizens. While economic growth is important, government policies prioritising health will help shift focus by ensuring not only conditions that will allow citizens to lead healthier lives, but also that other policies and national objectives take into account factors concerning well-being.
With the theme of “Our planet, our health”, World Health Day 2022 wants to imagine a world where clean air, water and food are available to all, where economies are focused on well-being, and where people have control over their health and the health of their planet.
World Health Day in a post-pandemic world
Just as the world seems ready to move on from Covid-19, it is important to remember the important lessons we learned from the pandemic, and that we do not simply go back to the way things were before.
The pandemic revealed the many inequities in global society, with many communities or even countries struggling to get access to basic necessities such as clean water and sanitation. That is why the WHO has outlined a manifesto that will not only provide guidance in achieving improved global health standards, but also that we protect nature and the planet as the most important source of health.
Among the items in the manifesto include a commitment to renewable and greener energy, especially in healthcare facilities, to transition towards healthy and sustainable food systems, and generally to shift global priorities from economic success which also causes pollution, to fairness and well-being.
With long-term goals to move toward building health-based societies, it should be the goal of every citizen of the world to improve the health of the planet, human beings, and future generations.
For more info on World Health Day 2022, visit the WHO website.