Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

In a bid to raise awareness around various health issues worldwide, World Health Day is being celebrated across the globe including Odisha on Sunday.

Health impacts all spheres of life taking it from longevity to happiness. Health has assumed greater significance in several aspects of our well-being in modern times, especially post-pandemic era.

As time moves on, increased awareness of several diseases, mental health challenges, and the importance of preventive care has made health a top priority across the globe. 

Observing World Health Day every year on April 7 is an effort in the same direction.

As part of the celebration, various activities have been planned around the day to share information, raise awareness and educate people about different kinds of health issues, disorders and mental health concerns.

History and significance

The special day was first observed in 1950. The day also commemorates founding of World Health Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations dedicated to international public health. World Health Day is aimed at raising awareness about global health issues. It also encourages people to live healthier. It was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1950 and has been celebrated every year since then.

The first Health Assembly was held by WHO in 1948. Two years later, it was decided to commemorate April 7, also the founding date of WHO, as World Health Day. The day was aimed to raise awareness around various health issues worldwide and to mobilise support to address them. Over the years, the celebrations have aimed to create awareness around a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for WHO.

Theme of World Health Day 2024

The theme for this year’s World Health Day is - ‘My health, my right’. The theme highlights that getting access to essential health services should no longer be a privilege but one’s right. As per The WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All, at least 140 countries recognise health as a human right in their constitution. However, many countries are not yet passing and putting into practice laws to ensure their populations are entitled to access health services.

As per WHO, this year’s theme was chosen to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working, environmental conditions and freedom from discrimination.

“Pandemics, different kinds of diseases and stress have been increasing due to environmental changes. Hence, the most important thing is to spread health awareness these days. As many as 2.5 million people across the globe are currently deprived of health services due to economic issues and less advancement in healthcare facilities. There are also many places where we have health inequalities. Keeping the environmental changes into account, we also have to bring some changes on a personal level like regular exercises, healthy diets, proper sleep and stress management,” said health expert Dr. Srikant Dhar.

“We also have to make people aware of environmental changes like air pollution and water pollution. India is No.2 in terms of number of diabetic patients. We are quickly moving towards the No.1 position. Our first challenge will be its prevention. People have to learn how to manage stress from the very childhood. Yoga, paranayam and regular exercises will help us keep diseases and stress at bay. Many celebrities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi are leading healthy lives due to health awareness and yoga. Our next generation should be careful enough to lead a healthy life. People are still relying on blind beliefs and superstitions for the treatment of their diseases. We need individual awareness and proper balance and adjustment with our working environment in this regard,” said Dhar.