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  • Updated: Apr 07, 2021

World Health Day: WHO Tasks FG, States To Build Healthier World For All

World Health Day: WHO Tasks FG, States To Build Healthier Wo

As the world celebrates World Health Day (WHD), the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on governments at all levels to build a fairer and healthier world for everyone through quality medical and pharmaceutical care.

Speaking on this year's theme: ‘‘Building a fairer, healthier world’’ to highlight health inequities, WHO noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic “has been harshest on communities, which were already vulnerable, who are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality healthcare services and more likely to experience adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic.”

April 7 each year is remembered as WHD to commemorate the creation of the WHO over seven decades ago.

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According to the organization, 3.6 billion people worldwide still lack full coverage of essential primary health services. WHO fact sheet reveals that "930 million worldwide are at risk of falling into poverty due to out-of-pocket health spending of 10 percent or more of their household budget.

"71 per cent of deaths globally are attributed to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; $3.7 trillion is the amount of global income lost due to the pandemic, equivalent to 4.4 per cent of the global GDP; 2,860,100 is the number of people worldwide who have died of COVID-19 as at press time, and one in four persons will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point during their lifetime.

According to experts, the current rate of vaccination of approximately 6.7 million doses per day means it would take 4.6 years to vaccinate 70—85 percent of the world population. This World Health Day is calling for renewed solidarity and urgency to narrow equity gaps that are leaving countless people, especially those in low and middle-income countries behind.

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WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said manufacturers and countries must work together to donate 10 million doses to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) so countries still awaiting their first shipments of vaccines can begin vaccinating their at-risk health workers and older people. WHO has also called for vaccine producers to license their technologies to other manufacturers to speed up this process.

In Nigeria, a call has gone out to the government, at all levels, to provide equitable healthcare coverage to all citizens to reduce the impact of health emergencies on Nigerians. According to Development Communications (DevComs) Network, the pandemic has shown the fragile nature of healthcare services and coverage in the country, a situation that has been worsened by the ongoing strike by resident doctors across the country.  

“We condemn the unequal access to healthcare delivery between the general populace and government officials, political leaders, traditional rulers, and the majority of the affluent in the society. The majority of Nigerians struggle daily to make ends meet and put food on the table. Most of them still live below poverty lines and the advent of COVID-19 has shown the unequal distribution of wealth in the country.

“This has led to a lot of problems in the country from insecurity to lack of many social amenities. All these impacts on the health of the populace and lack of good health indices is an indicator that we are not thriving as a country. We, therefore, call on the Nigerian government to address health inequalities in the country and provide a conducive environment for citizens to thrive in good health,” Akin Jimoh, DevComs Program Director, said yesterday.

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As part of efforts to mark World Health Day, medical experts have made recommendations on how to build a fairer and healthier world for everyone through quality medical and pharmaceutical care.

Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), doctors under the umbrella of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), and the Expert Review Committee on COVID-19 yesterday called on leaders to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions that are conducive to good health. They urged leaders to monitor health inequities and to ensure that all people are able to access quality health services when and where they need them.

President, PSN, Sam Ohuabunwa, told The Guardian: “We are resolved to expand our scope to address the inequities in access to healthcare, especially those bothering on availability, access and effective use of medicines. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health remains a fundamental human right of every human being without discrimination of race, socio-economic status, and political alignment.

“The PSN will continue to call for actions that will bring people together with their Pharmacists and other health care workers for health care service that is available, accessible, and affordable to all.”

Ohuabunwa said the gains of this noble decision range from robust investment in the health of the world’s population to timely interventions toward the eradication of diseases like polio and smallpox and bringing disease outbreaks under control through a coordinated and concerted effort.


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