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April 7th is World Health Day: A Call to Address Health Inequalities this 2021

Under the theme, “Together for a fairer, healthier world”, the celebration of World Health Day this April 07, 2021 places the spotlight on overall health and wellness. Physical, mental, and emotional well-being is promoted, alongside a call for immediate action to eliminate health inequities across all sectors.

The WHO encourages action from all sectors to attain better health for everyone. In our current state where the pandemic has heightened existing inequalities, these disparities bore grave consequences especially those people who are already socially, economically, and geographically disadvantaged.

Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the EasThe first World Health Assembly was celebrated way back 1948, and by 1950 the World Health Organization decided to celebrate World Health Day on the 7th day of April every year. This is with one goal in mind: to draw worldwide attention to global health at least one day per year.

Celebrated with a different theme each year, the World Health Day creates awareness on health issues of the needy and less fortunate, particularly in the poor to the poorest regions across the globe. Basic activities reinforcing health and wellness are also being practiced as part of its traditional celebration, including hiking, cycling, meditation, therapy. Restaurants are also encouraged to take part by promoting a healthy and balanced diet on the menu. Charity drives and fundraisers are also a typical part of the celebration.

The World Health Day is the perfect avenue to reinforce the importance of holistic wellness in every individual. Moreover, the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic solidifies the importance of wellness as our only defense against unexpected circumstances that could very well threaten our wellbeing.

tern Mediterranean, reiterates: "Health is a fundamental human right. Every person deserves to live a healthy life regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability, economic situation or employment.”

He adds: “Progress in tackling health disparities has been slow worldwide, including in the Region in which many countries are experiencing emergencies and conflict and we have the largest number of displaced people in the world."

Several factors had uncovered layer upon layer the inequalities suffered by people all over the globe. Poverty, unemployment, gender inequalities, environmental challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the provision of health services to communities especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. This has adversely altered their health and wellbeing.

While others can get by - able to live healthy lives and have easy access to health services - a significant proportion of the population is struggling to make ends meet. The harsh reality of existing inequalities leads to avoidable illnesses and preventable deaths.

This World Health Day, the WHO calls on world leaders to carefully consider that everyone enjoys favorable living and working conditions conducive to health and overall wellbeing. The organization calls on world leaders to monitor existing health disparities, making access to optimal healthcare as a priority. People should have a sure access to quality health services, wherever and whenever.

So how do we do our part? We may only be a small fragment of the world population, and we may not necessarily have the voice to address world leaders, but wellness is a unifying concept that is best manifested by walking the talk.

As part of the community, let us also practice commemoration of the World Health Day by living healthy lives and actively promoting wellness in all aspects. Be it through the neighborhood or social media, let us make it a point to promote a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. A lot of us may enjoy privileges that people in geographically disadvantaged and isolated areas do not, specifically access to quality health services. Let us be grateful enough that we take care of these privileges, promoting the practice of safety measures against COVID-19, and living a well-balanced life. In our own little way, let us help address the drivers of health inequalities by becoming good examples of wellness ourselves. Who knows, little by little we begin to change societies and communities, and little by little we change the world.

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