The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates on April 7, its 75th founding anniversary, which dates back to 1948, when countries from around the world united to create the United Nations Specialized Agency in order for everyone, everywhere to achieve the maximum degree of health and well-being.
This year’s World Health Day celebrated under the theme “Health For All”, is an opportunity to reflect on the collective accomplishments in public health made possible by science-driven learning and international, cross-cultural collaboration, as well as to encourage initiatives to address upcoming health challenges for greater wellbeing and longer, healthier lives for all.
Over the past 75 years, there has been remarkable progress in preventing diseases, including the elimination of smallpox, a 99% decrease in the prevalence of polio, the saving of millions of lives through childhood immunization, a decline in maternal mortality, and the improvement of health and well-being for millions more.
“We have much to be proud of, but much work to do to realize our founding vision of the highest attainable standard of health for all people,” said the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Dr. Ghebreyesus further added, “We continue to face vast inequities in access to health services, major gaps in the world’s defenses against health emergencies, and threats from health-harming products and the climate crisis. We can only meet these global challenges with global cooperation.”
To face these threats, the World Health Organization encourages countries to take immediate action to protect and reinforce the health workforce, noting that investments in education, skills, and quality jobs must be prioritized to fulfill the increasing demand for healthcare and avoid a projected shortage of 10 million health workers by 2030, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
In the past five years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has made investments in research and digital health, establishing a Science Division under the direction of the first Chief Scientist of the Organization. This initiative has occurred at a time when science is continually criticized, with the aim of shielding people from false and misleading information by governments.