World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7, to commemorate the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948 and to raise awareness of health-related issues. In 2021 the theme of this celebration is “Building a fairer, healthier world”.
The Covid-19 pandemic further highlighted health inequalities between countries in the world and in the region of the Americas. The populations that suffer most from limited access to health services also have limited access to quality education, fewer work opportunities and little or no access to safe environments, clean water and air and safe food. The groups that suffer the most from these disadvantages are often those that experience ethnic and gender discrimination. These conditions can cause unnecessary suffering, preventable diseases and premature death, causing damage to societies and the economy of the region.
COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been more severe in communities that already face significant vulnerability, are more exposed to disease, are less likely to have access to quality health services and are more likely to suffer adverse consequences such as result of the measures implemented to contain the pandemic. That is why international organizations, such as the Pan American Health Organization, have asked leaders of countries in the Region to ensure that equity in health is the centerpiece of the recovery of COVID-19.
BIREME, as a specialized center in health scientific information of the Pan American Health Organization, within the scope of its mission to democratize information, knowledge and evidence for decision-making, adheres to this campaign, making the concept of equity be present in all its products and services (see “Why use BIREME's products and services?” in https://www.paho.org/es/bireme)
According to Diego González, Director of BIREME, “at times like the one we are experiencing globally, with the COVID-19 pandemic, inequities are deepening and impacting the health of people and communities. In this sense, making information products easily accessible, free and available to everyone, is our way of contributing to the theme of this campaign around the world”.
The pandemic has shown us that an effective response to achieving health for all also requires expanding social protection systems, fair income, decent work, strong and inclusive education systems and healthy housing. To this end, countries' ministries of health must strengthen their competencies to work with other sectors to address the social determinants of health. Because we won't be safe until everyone is safe.
Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of PAHO/WHO, opened the webinar on the World Health Day, emphasizing that the theme of this celebration is very appropriate, considering that “the COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone, but not all of it. form. The pandemic brought about inequalities and made them worse. In addition, he made reference to the fact that in order to build the future, we must recognize and face the current reality and that any measure taken must take into account equity and that we cannot and must not leave anyone behind."
Links of interest
PAHO – World Health day 2021
WHO – World Health Day 2021
 The Pan American Health Organization. World Health Day 2021. Available from: https://www.paho.org/en/campaigns/world-health-day-2021-building-fairer-healthier-world. Access April 6, 2021.