World Health Day marks the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 7, 1948, and “Our planet, our health” is the message for World Health Day 2022. The WHO estimates that avoidable environmental causes claim 13.5 million lives each year. 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, and 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, 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.
The WHO 2020-2021 two-year operational budget was $5.84 billion. Funding comes from assessed fees of member states and private donations. The top donors are listed as follows:
|Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation||$375.5 million|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||$349.1 million|
|United States of America||$340.2 million|
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.
The WHO published a video of the Manifesto for Healthy Recovery from Covid-19 on its website that includes the following steps:
- Cherish and protect the source of all human health, the natural world
- Invest in vital life-saving services like access to water and sanitation and clean energy in healthcare facilities
- Quickly transition to clean, renewable sources of energy
- Switch to healthy and sustainable food systems
- Make all our towns and cities green and healthy
- Shift from an economy driven by profit and pollution to an economy driven by fairness and wellbeing
World Health Day: 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.”