Blog Post

World Health Month

07/04/2016

Did you know it’s World Health Month?

World Health Day is on the 7th of April each year. This day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organisation which was founded in 1948. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the leading global health authority within the United Nations System. The work of WHO is varied and can mostly be summarised through their 6 point agenda:

  • Promote Development – poverty is linked to poor health; by promoting development, poverty falls and the overall health of a given population improves.
  • Fosters Health Security – WHO takes steps to increase health security by reducing health risks from outbreaks of new, existing and mutating diseases.
  • Strengthens Health Systems – in poorer countries many health systems are inadequate. WHO strengthens these systems through various means which may include the provision of funding, access to drugs and relevant technology, data collection systems and trained staff.
  • Harnesses information, research and evidence – WHO uses evidence as a sound basis for setting health priorities, strategies and measuring results. In consultation with leading health experts, WHO provides authoritative health information.
  • Enhances Partnerships – WHO works closely with many health organisations around the world. WHO aims to improve or enhance the work of these organisations by encouraging them to use their evidence based practices and follow their technical guidelines when implementing their health programs.
  • Improves Performance – WHO also strives to improve the performance of its own organisation. In order to improve the performance or effectiveness of an organisation there needs to be clear results which can be measured and compared. WHO improves performance by implementing results based management, which provide clear results and goals which can be measured on a regional, country or international level.

WHO use the anniversary of their founding day not only as an opportunity to celebrate the organisation and its work but also as an opportunity to highlight a current global health priority. This year, the focus for WHO calls for global action to halt rise in and improve care for people with diabetes.

The number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. Factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity, WHO announced ahead of World Health Day.

Health-promoting environments reduce risk factors

Measures needed include expanding health-promoting environments to reduce diabetes risk factors, like physical inactivity and unhealthy diets, and strengthening national capacities to help people with diabetes receive the treatment and care they need to manage their conditions.

“If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive noncommunicable disease (NCD) characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar). It occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

For more information on how you can get involved in this 2016 initiative, visit http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2016/en/

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