Optimism on the anniversary of the WHO and World Health Day

Optimism on the anniversary of the WHO and World Health Day


Not everything is fatal when it comes to global health. On World Health Day, Rava takes a look at some of the progress that has been made so far.

April 7 was not just World Health Day: this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Established in 1948, WHO was the first specialized agency of the United Nations to which all its members subscribed. Currently, WHO participates in many health-related projects worldwide, with the aim of achieving universal health coverage.

When it comes to global health, there are many aspects that need improvement. But not all is bad news.

Maternal mortality has decreased by more than 40 percent

Since 1990, the number of women dying during or shortly after childbirth has been reduced worldwide. However, some regions such as sub-Saharan Africa need to improve even more to catch up with the levels of the world.

In line with the decline in maternal mortality, the global rate of infant mortality has been reduced by more than half in the last 30 years.

People are living longer

Although life expectancy in Africa is still 20 years less than that of Europe, in the last 30 years Africans have lived eight years longer than previous generations. It is impressive to see how life expectancy on a global scale has increased since the beginning of the last century. And this is largely due to increased health coverage, advances in medicine and the emergence of new treatments and vaccines.

Deaths from HIV / AIDS decrease

Since 1997, the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections has decreased. Almost 4 million people died as a result of the immunodeficiency syndrome in 2005-2006. A decade later, 36.7 million people around the world live with HIV / AIDS. Fortunately, many have access to antiretroviral treatments.

Greater access to drinking water

Drinking water is key to preventing infectious diseases such as cholera and diphtheria. In the last 30 years, the number of people dying as a result of drinking contaminated water has decreased worldwide. India and sub-Saharan Africa still urgently need more investment and infrastructure to ensure that their people have access to clean water.

Vaccines are saving millions of lives

Poliomyelitis once threatened the lives of children around the world. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine in the 1950s and has been improved several times since then. As a result of the widespread use of the vaccine, the number of reported cases of paralytic poliomyelitis decreased from more than 60,000 per year to only 42 cases worldwide in 2016.

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