Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Friday, February 03, 2023

Since 1948, April 7 has been celebrated as National World Health Day. This day is a celebration of the implementation of the constitution of the World Health Organization. It was adopted during an International Health Conference in New York, held on June 1946 and later signed by 61 States on July 22, 1946. The constitution, which can be read on the organization’s website, was implemented on April 7, 1948.

The day becomes more expansive each year, highlighting different issues from women’s health to mental health. However, it has always been a day to raise awareness about the organization’s mission. Health, which is defined by the organization as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” is an enormous undertaking. Health is a right, but it has not always been treated as such. In the organization’s preamble of its constitution, it says governments have a responsibility to their people to promote health and well-being. If this idea was universally adopted, our world would look very different than it does today.

In a statement from the organization’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who holds a doctorate in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master’s of Science in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London, said half of the world’s population cannot access basic health care. Children die from diseases due to a lack of access to vaccinations and mothers die in childbirth because of a lack of access to trained medical officials. In his statement, Ghebreyesus focused on the idea of universal health care and how even an imperfect universal health care system is better than nothing.

It begs the question, if the U.S., one of the most developed countries in the world, has yet to implement universal health care, how can we expect smaller, less developed countries to do so? It’s a question we don’t have an answer to. However, it is rooted in the fundamental idea that health is a right that cannot be taken away based on wealth, race or ethnicity. The U.S. health care system has been debated for years and continues to be debated. We don’t have an answer to the “perfect” system, and in reality, there will probably never be a system that everyone agrees on. What we do have is the ability to argue our heath care system and choose our health care system. We have a democracy that gives us a choice in how we access health care, but that isn’t the case for many impoverished nations, where there is no basic health care and there is no choice.

National World Health Day does raises awareness about health across the world. In 2019, health is an extensive issue that relates to malnutrition, diseases, disasters and so much more. As Ghebreyesus said, the fact that there are millions of people across the globe who don’t have access to basic health care is unacceptable. We can’t tell countries what to do, but we can do our best to promote health across the board and appreciate health care professionals for the work they do all over the world.

There is no one solution to global health. It’s a nuanced problem with a thousand different facets that need to be addressed. Even here in the U.S., we still struggle with mental health and clean water, among other issues. No country is perfect, but it matters that there are people working to remedy these issues. National World Health Day is a reminder that there are people who are still struggling with basic health necessities and that there are thousands of others who are advocating for the health of millions of people.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.