Kandifo Institute marks World Health Day as it sets aside April a month of Health

Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, Executive Director of Kandifo Institute

The World Health Organization defines Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease infirmity.

April 7 of every year is a day set aside to mark the celebration of World health Day. From its establishment in 1948 at the First Health Assembly and taking full effect in 1950, the celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO).

This has brought to light important health issues such as mental health, maternal and child care as well as climate change over the past 50 years. Since 1950, the World Health Day has used different themes every year and each theme for the year is selected by the current WHO Director-General based on the suggestions of the member governments and staff.

The celebration is marked by activities which extend beyond the day itself and serves as an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on these important aspects of global health. World Health Day is one of the eleven official global health campaigns that is marked by the World Health Organization. In order to be able to celebrate this day, people worldwide participate in activities and also attend seminars that are related to the topic of health.

This day is actually a day that marks the beginning of a new campaign which seeks to promote a healthy world. Observing this day is considered very important because it serves as an opportunity to draw attention of the world towards specific health problems and raise awareness about it.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the long-term advocacy health campaigns are mostly launched on World Health Day. World Health Day is not all about washing of hands and eating healthy. It is a day set aside to be observed worldwide by government and non-governmental health organizations with the aim of promoting healthier living habits that increases life expectancy of people around the world.

Debates on related topics, art exhibitions, essay writings, competitions and award ceremonies also take place on this day. This special day has been a collective action that is aimed at globally protecting human health and well-being.

The Theme for 2021 World Health Day is dubbed as “Together for a fairer, healthier world”. On this day the WHO is calling for urgent action to eliminate health inequalities and mobilize action to attain better health for all and leave no one behind. The emergence of coronavirus hit countries really hard and its impact has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, countries who are more exposed to the disease and is less likely to have access to quality health care services and more likely to experience adverse consequences as the result of measures that have been put in place to contain the pandemic.

As COVID-19 has highlighted, according to WHO some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others which is entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, age, work and live.  Some people around the world struggle to make ends meet with their little daily income, have poorer housings conditions and education and also have little or no access to safe environments, not having clean water, no or less food security and health services.

This leads to unnecessary suffering, illness that can be avoided and also causes premature death. This does not just harm individuals but harm the society at large and the economy as well. The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on all leaders to monitor and keep an eye on health inequalities and address their root causes to ensure that everyone has access to the living and working conditions that are conducive to good health and to quality health services where and when they need them and also to invest in primary health care to achieve for all and by all.

Kandifo Institute as part of celebrating this day has set the whole month of April aside to create awareness for a fairer and healthier world for all. A day like this should not be taken for granted as good health is the new wealth now and also good health adds life to years. We should be conscious of our health and not give room to diseases that can be avoided or treated. Health is a fundamental right and every human being deserves to live a healthy life irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, age or economic situation.

Suggested policy

  • Health professionals should educate the general public and make them realise their rights to the highest possible level of health irrespective of their financial situation.
  • The Government should continue to devise measures to sensitize the public on Ghana’s effort towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
  • The Government should ensure that healthcare cost and expenditures related to prevention and treatment of diseases are made affordable for every Ghanaian to be able to afford good and quality health care.
  • The Government together with health professionals should put in measures which will help minimize the high rate of malaria and cholera deaths.
  • The Government should establish more Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS compound) in rural areas to be able have access to healthcare without travelling to far distances.

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