World Health Day 2019: Universal Health for Everyone, Everywhere


World Health Day, celebrated on April 7th this year, also marks the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO). In the Region of the Americas, these celebrations focus on universal health, under the theme “Universal Health: Everyone, Everywhere”. The celebrations also contribute with the strategies for the worldwide implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and, regionally, with the implementation of ASSA 2030 – the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas.

PAHO presented on April 9 and 10 in Mexico, the High-Level Commission report entitled “Universal Health in the XII Century: 40 years of Alma-Ata”. The report provided recommendations for expanding health access and coverage in the Region by 2030.

Universal Health in the XXI Century: 40 years of Alma-Ata

During the presentation of the High-Level Commission report “Universal Health in the XXI Century: 40 years of Alma-Ata”, which took place within the framework of World Health Day, the Commission remarked that while advances are undeniable, there are still gaps that resist to disappear.

Proof of this is that “average public investment in health in the Americas is still below 6% of the Gross Domestic Product, which is the recommendation. Comparatively, the percentage in North America is 8%, while in Latin America and the Caribbean, the average is 4%.”

The report of the High-Level Commission proposes an alternative: to attribute a central role to primary health care as an efficient strategy for the State and civil society to transform health systems and intervene on social and environmental determinants for the health of the population.

The presentation of the report was led by the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the PAHO/WHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne, the Joint Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and President of the Commission, Néstor Méndez; and the High Commissariat of the United Nations for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

The report reviews the results achieved in the last 40 years since the declaration of Alma-Ata, considering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and highlighting the challenges that persist with recommendations for strengthening health systems and empowering individuals and communities in order to advance towards Universal Health in the Americas.

On this subject, Carissa Etienne, PAHO/WHO Director, stated that it is completely unacceptable that millions of people do not have access to full health services. She also emphasized that universal health is not an impossible dream, that it is feasible, necessary and the right thing to do.

The main PAHO/WHO recommendations for attaining universal health include:

  1. Guaranteeing the right to health
  2. Developing models for health care based on primary health care (PHC)
  3. Generating mechanisms for social participation
  4. Generating mechanisms for regulation and control of the private sector
  5. Eliminating obstacles for access to health
  6. Approaching social determinants with intersectoral interventions
  7. Repositioning public health as an orienting axis for State response
  8. Valuing human resources as leaders of PHC
  9. Promoting rational use and innovation of technological resources
  10. Conceding efficient and sustainable financing


Actions in the city of São Paulo

Events organized by public institutions and NGOs marked World Health Day in the city of São Paulo. “Virada da Saúde” at Ibirapuera Park; “Um Dia no Parque” at Parque do Chuvisco, both on April 7th; and “Mexa-se na Virada da Saúde”, at Sport Club Joerg Bruder in Santo Amaro, São Paulo, on the 11th.

The event “Um Dia no Parque”, at Parque do Chuvisco, was supported by local institutions that showed how their activities cooperate with the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. The event “Mexa-se na Virada da Saúde” focused on raising awareness on the practice of sports for prevention and health improvement among local communities. “Mexa-se” is inspired by the WHO Program “Let’s Be Active”, and emphasized its contribution to the achievement of the SDG and the 2030 Agenda.

Parque DMS

BIREME/PAHO/WHO was present at these events, represented by its Administrative and Planning Manager, Silvia de Valentin, who reinforced the importance of these activities locally, as well as the interest of BIREME in disseminating and supporting practices that involve and raise awareness among local communities to actions that collaborate with health, well-being and quality of life.

As a PAHO/WHO Regional Center in São Paulo, BIREME also cooperates with sharing good practices on behalf of health institutions from Brazil and other countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. In this sense, it participates at events that thereby rely with its professionals to bring technical and scientific information and knowledge, as well as to support the dissemination of successful practices.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is celebrated on April 28th. For the occasion of the hundredth year anniversary of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the discussions on the future of work, the world day this year intended to make an assessment of the 100 years the Organization has been working to improve safety and health at work, and to outline the future for the continuation of these efforts through the important changes that are taking place in areas like technology, demography, labor organization and climate change.

The ILO presented on this date a global report in this sense, in which it shares a history of 100 years saving lives and promoting safe and healthy work environments. In order to take the discussion further, the ILO presented 33 original and exclusive think pieces written by the true protagonists of the labor safety and health in the world, who share messages and testimonials about safety and health at work and about the future of work through a variety of technical and practical points of view.

BIREME contributes to the topic of work safety through a historical institutional relation with the Fundação Jorge Duprat Figueiredo de Segurança e Medicina do Trabalho – Fundacentro[1], and, within the framework of this cooperation, shares information on scientific communication, journal management and access to health sciences information.

To celebrate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, representatives from Fundacentro Dalton Tria Cusciano and Diego Ferreira de Oliveira visited BIREME on April 24 and made a presentation on the theme for the collaborators of the Center.


Links of interest:


[1] Fundacentro was part of the Brazil’s Ministry of Labor and Industry until 2018; today it is part of the Brazil’s Ministry of Economy.