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World Health Day

Taking Care of World Health

When the UN was formed in 1945, it was decided a global health organisation should be set up. The World Health Organisation (WHO) was born on April 7, 1948.

It was decided this anniversary should be marked with a day educating people on an important global health issue.

The first World Health Day was in 1950 and, since then, it has spread awareness on everything from food safety to blood pressure.  The day is also a celebration of the WHO itself.

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The event is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. The WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the Day related to a particular theme.

The day is also acknowledged by various governments and non-governmental organizations with interests in public health issues, who also organize activities and highlight their support in media reports, such as the Global Health Council.

World Health Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by WHO, along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Hepatitis Day, and World AIDS Day.

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Since it is an annual event, there is a different theme every year that focuses on certain important health aspect that affects the world and humanity. The previous themes of the World Health Day were:

  • 2016: Halt the rise: beat diabetes
  • 2015: Food safety
  • 2014: Vector-borne diseases: small bite, big threat
  • 2013: Healthy heart beat, Healthy blood pressure
  • 2012: Good health adds life to years
  • 2011: Anti-microbial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow
  • 2010: Urbanization and health: make cities healthier
  • 2009: Save lives, Make hospitals safe in emergencies
  • 2008: Protecting health from the adverse effects of climate change
  • 2007: International health security
  • 2006: Working together for health
  • 2005: Make every mother and child count
  • 2004: Road safety
  • 2003: Shape the future of life: healthy environments for children
  • 2002: Move for health
  • 2001: Mental Health: stop exclusion, dare to care
  • 2000: Safe Blood starts with me
  • 1999: Active aging makes the difference
  • 1998: Safe motherhood
  • 1997: Emerging infectious diseases
  • 1996: Healthy Cities for better life
  • 1995: Global Polio Eradication

Similarly, the WHO releases the World Health Report (WHR) which is a series of reports that were first published in 1995. The WHR is the WHO’s leading publication. Published annually or biennially in multiple languages, each report includes an expert assessment of a specific global health topic, relating to all countries that are member states of the organization.

The main purpose of the WHR is to provide policy makers, donor agencies, international organizations and others with the information they need to help them make appropriate health policy and funding decisions.

However, the report is also accessible to a wider audience, such as universities, journalists and the public at large. It is expected that anyone, with a professional or personal interest in international health issues, will be able to read and take use of it.