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World Health Day

Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) selects a priority area of global public health concern as the theme for World Health Day, which falls on 7 April, the birthday of the Organization.

World Health Day 2022 - Our planet, our health

The theme for World Health Day 2022 is Our planet, our health.

In the midst of a pandemic, a polluted planet, increasing diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, on World Health Day 2022,  the focus is global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.   

WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes. This includes the climate crisis which is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. The climate crisis is also a health crisis.

Our political, social and commercial decisions are driving the climate and health crisis. Over 90% of people breathe unhealthy air resulting from burning of fossil fuels. A heating world is seeing mosquitos spread diseases farther and faster than ever before. Extreme weather events, land degradation and water scarcity are displacing people and affecting their health. Pollution and plastics are found at the bottom of our deepest oceans, the highest mountains, and have made their way into our food chain. Systems that produce highly processed, unhealthy foods and beverages are driving a wave of obesity, increasing cancer and heart disease while generating a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

While the COVID-19 pandemic showed us the healing power of science, it also highlighted the inequities in our world. The pandemic has revealed weaknesses in all areas of society and underlined the urgency of creating sustainable well-being societies committed to achieving equitable health now and for future generations without breaching ecological limits. The present design of the economy leads to inequitable distribution of income, wealth and power, with too many people still living in poverty and instability. A well-being economy has human well-being, equity and ecological sustainability as its goals. These goals are translated into long-term investments, well-being budgets, social protection and legal and fiscal strategies. Breaking these cycles of destruction for the planet and human health requires legislative action, corporate reform and individuals to be supported and incentivized to make healthy choices.    

 Key messages

  • Air pollution kills 13 people every minute due to lung cancer, heart disease and strokes. Stop burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas
  • Climate change is a threat to human health driving diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, and mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue.
  • 3.6 billion people lack safe toilets globally. Untreated human waste degrades ecosystems and human health
  • 2 billion people lack safe drinking-water globally. Protect water sources by preventing sewage, waste and chemicals from entering our lakes, rivers, or groundwater.
  • Manage medical waste safely. Needlestick injuries from discarded syringes can cause Hepatitis B, C and infectious diseases. Emissions from burning of health care can increase cancers
  • Tobacco kills more than 8 million people every year & is highly addictive. It is a major risk factor for cancer, heart, lung diseases. 600 Million trees are chopped down to make 6 trillion cigarettes every year, decreasing the clean air we breathe. No tobacco.
  • Rising temperatures and floods caused by climate change will place an additional 2 billion people at risk of dengue infection.
  • Nitrogen dioxide pollution can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma. Well planned public transport systems, including safe walking and cycling, can improve air quality, mitigate climate change, and deliver additional health gains

Source : World Health Organisation

Related Resources

  1. Climate change and health - Fact sheet
  2. Advocacy Tool Kit for WHD 2022


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