Half the world lacks access to essential health services, and the World Health Organization (WHO) is dedicated to take steps to make a positive change. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of World Health Day, and WHO reminds world leaders to the agreement on Sustainable Development Goals made in 2015.
World Health Day was established in 1948 with the aim of drawing worldwide attention to a chosen, health related topic each year. In the previous years, subjects of major importance such as depression, diabetes, food safety, mental health, antimicrobial resistance, active aging and safe motherhood were discussed. In 2018 the theme is Universal Health Coverage, which means receiving health services whenever and wherever needed. According to WHO’s plans, health service coverage would be extended for 1 billion more people by 2023.
Health for All
WHO unites health activists all around the world with its Health for All Campaign launched in the 1970s. As the basis for the organization’s primary health care strategy, it envisions securing the health and well-being of people. In 1981, WHO’s former Director General, Halfdan Mahler expressed that having access to health services is not the only factor we have to take into consideration. Indeed, health is a state of well-being which enables people to lead a socially and economically productive life. For this reason, his definition of the campaign includes the demand for literacy for everyone, continued progress in medical and public health, the elimination of malnutrition and contaminated drinking water too, just to mention a few.
Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, a set of goals (17, to be more exact) were adopted to transform our world by WHO’s member countries as part of the agenda. The points include ending poverty and protecting our planet (climate action, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities and communities, etc.) as well as the importance of health and well-being, fighting for gender equality, quality education and establishing peace, justice and strong institutions. We can only reach these goals if we act together: governments, private sectors, civil society and YOU also have to do your own part.
In relation to the above mentioned goals, the United Nations put together a long list of actions which they call “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World”. It gives great ideas on how to create a better local and home environment, and even though they focus majorly on sustainability and not health in general, the tips are worth to check out. There is advice on how to reduce the electricity bill, increasing energy efficiency and several ideas about living a conscious life. At the end of the day, they all contribute to our well-being, mental health and happiness.
Change Your Life!
Are you ready to make a change? Taking good care of yourself is a must if you would like to live a healthy and long life. It is a well-known fact that we eat influences the way we feel. Try to eat more fresh vegetables, and follow a healthy approach when you are shopping for food. Add more whole grains to your diet, and avoid those which are calorie dense and nutrient poor. It’s time to be picky: limit saturated fats and trans fats, and make friends with healthy fat and lean protein instead.
Stay active and work on your mental health too. A positive attitude helps build a healthier immune system, so stay focused and think positive. Don’t forget about stress management: get the worries out of your head by writing them down on a piece of paper. Meditate, read an interesting book, relax and exercise daily. A good sleep also does wonders. It’s never late to make a change, but the earlier you start, the better. Good luck!