Every year on April 7, we celebrate World Health Day, a day chosen by the First World Health Assembly in 1948.The celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization.
The celebration is marked by activities which extend beyond the day itself and serves as an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on important aspects of global health.This year, the topic allows for individuals to think about how to build and contribute to global health for all.
The theme of World Health Day 2021 is “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone”. Here is an excerpt from the World Health Organization website:
“In recent years, countries in the Western Pacific have experienced rapid economic growth, migration and urbanization. This created opportunities for better lives for many, but left others behind. The COVID-19 pandemic has undercut recent health gains, pushed more people into poverty and food insecurity, and amplified gender, social and health inequities.”
This year, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt by all countries, however, it has disproportionately affected vulnerable communities that are already considerably less likely to have access to quality health care services or suffer from greater consequences due to restrictions implemented to contain the spread of the disease.
Currently, we are seeing this inequity in access to the different vaccine options available, which unquestionably affects us all, because as long as a high level of vaccination is not reached, restrictions on global mobility and activity will continue.
More than 665 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, equal to 8.7 doses for every 100 people. These vaccine doses are not distributed equally around the world. For example, Israel is vaccinating its population faster than any other country, with 114 doses administered for every 100 people. This means doses remain relatively scarce globally, most countries have focused their early vaccination efforts on priority groups like the clinically vulnerable; people in their 60s, 70s and older; and front-line workers, like doctors and nurses.
Initiatives such as COVAX seek to minimize the economic gaps that impede global access to vaccines, facilitating the acquisition of doses for disadvantaged countries.However, these initiatives also depend on the willingness of countries to participate, which in turn is affected by the political and social situation of these countries. COVAX can help close the gap and provide more countries with vaccinations, but is not a universal solution that every country has embraced.
In line with this year’s World Health Day theme, we at Leapcure want to call attention to factors that affect inequity and raise awareness about how achieving true equity in health ends up benefiting all of us.