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The World Health Day theme for this year is “Building a fairer, healthier world”, because quite frankly – our world is an unequal one.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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. The COVID-19 has highlighted, some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others – entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.
Building Back Healthier
Emergency health needs vary based on the context. The health needs of each community heavily depend on the context. For instance, in low-income or tropical countries, acute respiratory diseases, together with diarrhoea, maternal and neonatal conditions, malaria, tuberculosis, under-nutrition and epidemics, represent some of the most important causes of deaths and diseases. In certain contexts, mass violence is at times the first cause of mortality. Additionally, crisis situations also often have a significant impact on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of those affected.
Building Back Fairer
Access to health care is a complex subject. More than health insurance, for many communities, it’s about physical location and access to reliable power and water. The COVID-19 pandemic has had grave consequences for people already experiencing inequities. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted those people already socially, economically, or geographically disadvantaged, and evidence shows a worsening trend of disparities and inequity across region in Asia.
Building Back Greener
Healthy communities rely on well-functioning and bio-diverse ecosystems. These provide clean air, fresh water, medicines, food, and nutrition security and support critical ecosystem functions and services such as pest and disease regulation, pollination, climate regulation, and mitigating the impacts of extreme events. The availability and sustainable management of natural resources in large part determines the baseline health status of a community, securing livelihoods and warranting community resilience.
Biodiversity is an important source of genetic resources for the development of many treatments, vaccines and a range of biotechnology products used in both modern and traditional medicines, as well as agriculture and industry. These include artemisinin as a treatment for malaria, and digitalis for heart disease.
On this World Health Day, as each of these systems’ changes takes hold, we slowly but steadily march forward toward the goal of health equity for everyone whenever they need it, despite their financial situation. On the road to a fairer and healthier world, there really is only one world, and one health for all : humans, animals, and our planet.
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