Shayna Schmidt | April 4, 2018
World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on April 7. This Saturday’s celebration is the 70th annual World Health Day-- how exciting! The awareness day is sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other related organizations, and it is dedicated to fighting for universal healthcare for all.
The gist is this: too many people are currently missing out on health coverage. World Health Day is about ensuring that all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship. According to the organization's website, their goal is a world where everyone has access to the healthcare services they need without having to worry about going into debt paying for them.
Each year, WHO focuses on a specific theme for World Health Day, and this year’s theme is Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere. According WHO’s website, they are “calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, and commit to concrete steps to advance #HealthForAll. This means ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.”
WHO acknowledges that the approach to Universal Health Coverage will be different for every country, but that there is at least something that every country can do. Making health services truly universal requires a shift from designing health systems around diseases and institutions to designing them around and for people. Everyone can play a part in the path to this coverage, according to WHO, by taking part in conversations.
It's important to note that Universal Health Coverage does not mean free coverage for all possible health interventions, regardless of the cost, as no country can provide all services free of charge on a sustainable basis.
Did you know that at least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services? Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just $1.90 or less per day, because they have to pay for health services out of pocket. Over 800 million people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family member. They incur so-called “catastrophic expenditures,” and this is a global problem.
This World Health Day, WHO is urging those interested in participating to reach out to appropriate government agencies and officials, parliamentary health committees, civil society organizations, high-profile individuals about healthcare-related issues. Their website suggests participating in “structured conversations,” getting as many people on board as possible to speak to leaders, and teaming up with organizations that support the universal healthcare initiative.
Another way to help is simply by spreading the word on social media. WHO has created social media squares to be used on your platforms this Saturday, April 7. Check them out here.
On this World Health Day, as a health and fitness company we'd be remiss if we didn't use this opportunity to remind everyone about the best ways to stay fit and healthy. So, we'd like to remind you of 3 simple ways to keep your health in check: