April 7th marks World Health Day

Celebrated since 1950, World Health Day is a global event which creates awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO).

2021’s theme is “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone”. It highlights the inequalities that exist in global health systems with a focus on the Western Pacific. 

While technological advancements and increased investment has allowed for rapid economic growth in the Western Pacific, not all have enjoyed an improvement in standards of living. 

This was a problem prior to 2020, but COVID-19 has made matters much worse. 

Structural inequalities combined with a global pandemic has delayed progress in building better, fairer public health outcomes in much of the Western Pacific. In 2021, social and health inequalities in the Western Pacific are growing and will continue to grow unless urgent action is taken. 

For the first time in over two decades, global poverty levels are set to rise rather than fall as the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt. 

With this being the case, 2021’s World Health is a call for action to eliminate global health inequalities as part of a year-long campaign to advocate for a post COVID-19 recovery which focuses on building a fairer, healthier world with a call for leaders to “monitor health inequities, and to ensure that all people are able to access quality health services when and where they need them”. 

This campaign is built upon WHO’s constitutional principle that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” 

We can all play a role in advancing better health outcomes globally through our own advocacy. The WHO have produced a number of social media materials available to download from their website for anybody to use in promoting the “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone” message.