30 March 2021

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History

The charter of the World Health Organization entered into force on April 7, 1948. This date is considered the "birthday" of the organization and is celebrated annually as World Health Day. The right to health is stated in the WHO charter as an inalienable fundamental right of every person without distinction of race, religion or social status.

Over time, this holiday has grown into a global campaign to protect the health, carry out preventive measures and inform the population how to properly monitor their health. And now the holiday has already turned into a global social campaign, many celebrities, politicians and other influential personalities are engaged in it.

Moreover, since 1995 the holiday is associated with a specific theme, a new motto appears annually.

Who celebrates

Perhaps, this wonderful holiday is celebrated all over the world – or at least in 194 countries that are members of the WHO. Whether World Health Day is professional or not, this holiday is celebrated by absolutely all people for whom their health is not an empty phrase. And if you take care of your health and disease prevention, then this holiday is yours. It is also clear that all medical workers can, to some extent, call this holiday a professional one.

As defined by WHO, health is not just the absence of disease. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. According to the WHO, human health is determined by the environment for 20%, for 50% – by way of life, and only 10% of it depends on the healthcare system. With the growth of social well-being, the main health risks are shifted towards behavioral factors: smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol level. Common problems such as high blood pressure, overweight and high blood glucose, which were previously considered a behavioral risk, are now considered metabolic.

All of them lead to an increase in the number of noncommunicable diseases. Cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus account for 71% of all deaths in the world. Unfortunately, we are largely responsible for this. The prevention of noncommunicable diseases is largely up to the people. This is not only a healthy lifestyle, physical activity, proper nutrition, but also timely help seeking, regular medical examinations and compliance with the recommendations of doctors.

The theme of the day for 2021 is "Let’s build a fairer and healthier world". The COVID-19 pandemic has vividly shown that the world is full of inequality at the moment. The ability to lead a healthy life and the availability of quality health care is in many cases determined by where a person was born, where he lives and works. All over the world, certain groups of people are struggling to earn a living, have no education and limited employment opportunities. Many people have no access to comfortable housing, clean water and safe food.

This is not only unfair, this is solvable. Everyone has suffered from the pandemic and the measures to combat it, but the vulnerable segments of people suffered the most. WHO calls on authorities and leaders around the world to ensure that all citizens have equal access to healthcare and, most importantly, the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle.

The year 2021 is proclaimed the year of the medical and social worker. By this decision, WHO encourages to pay tribute to their dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

When we talk about healthcare during the pandemic, we most often talk about such specialists as doctors, nurses, midwives, orderlies, pharmacists, physiotherapists. In fact, this list is much wider: we must not forget about the protection of mental health, about psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Specialists such as radiologists, laboratory technicians, nurses and many others make important contributions.

It was emphasized during the 73rd World Health Assembly that the pandemic has clearly shown the world how much health and entire well-being depends on the training level of such professionals. By investing in education, well-being and fair pay for social and health workers, society benefits ninefold from the results of their work. According to the UN Special Commission, increased investment in health care can boost economic growth up to 4% of GDP.

In many countries, health workers are still considered as a cost item rather than an investment in the health of the population and, as a consequence, economic growth. The pandemic only highlighted the existing difficulties: investments are also needed to combat non-communicable diseases, provide primary healthcare, ensure the mental health of the population and protect motherhood. These problems are especially acute in developing countries.

Applause and encouraging speeches are not enough to support health workers. It is necessary to ensure such a state of affairs in which a medical career will be not only honorable but also desirable in terms of living standards, high wages and development prospects.

Environmental health risks are responsible for up to 23% of all deaths. This proportion has remained relatively stable from year to year, but the incidence of deaths associated with infectious diseases has dropped significantly since 2002. More people have access to safe water and sanitation, and fewer households use solid fuels for cooking. However, the negative impact of other environmental factors is growing.

Air pollution is a significant health hazard. In developing countries, indoor air is hazardous due to the burning of solid fuels for heating and cooking. In the European region, including Belarus, industry and transport are the main sources of pollution. They are also traditional sources of such a harmful factor as noise pollution.

The world pays great attention to chemical safety as well. Chemicals that are harmful to health can reach humans in a variety of ways. They can be present not only in the environment: pesticides and traces of antibiotics can be found in food, synthetic paints and plastics, which can emit harmful gases, in clothing, furniture and other items. Health care organizations, supervisors and regulatory agencies can provide certification and mandatory labeling of such potentially hazardous products, but the final word always rests with the consumer.

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Human health primarily depends on the human himself. Timely prevention, healthy lifestyle, responsible attitude towards yourself and others, the choice of goods and services that do not harm health and the environment – all these are the necessary conditions for maintaining health, longevity and preventing diseases.

There are several recommendations for maintaining physical and mental health:

1. Get enough sleep! An adult should sleep at least 7-8 hours a day, children and adolescents – 9-13 hours. The body restores resources and accumulates energy for the next day while sleeping.

2. Healthy eating. Eat less, but more often. Regular, balanced nutrition is a guarantee of physical and mental health.

3. Drinking regime. Drink plenty of pure water, don't abuse strong tea and coffee. Limit your alcohol intake.

4. Avoid food, alcohol, drugs, nicotine addictions.

5. Observe the daily routine.

6. Move more! Running in the park early in the morning is not necessary, a 30-minute daily walk at your own pace is enough. The main thing is regularity!

7. Communicate! Spend time with family and friends. Attention to loved ones and trusting relationships in the family are the key to the well-being of all its members.

8. Be curious, improve yourself! Find a hobby to your liking – sing, dance, knit, swim, grow greens on the windowsill. Do what you really enjoy doing.

9. Respond to stressful situations correctly. You cannot control everything that happens in your life, but you are able to choose how to react to it. You can learn how to see opportunities where others see only failure. Everything depends on your perception.

10. Regular preventive examinations. It is necessary to visit a doctor and consult with him about your health state. The best treatment for any disease is prevention.

World Health Day is a global campaign that aims to draw the attention of everyone on our planet to health and its protection.

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Valeologist

of the 4th City Clinical Hospital named after M. Saŭčanka            U. Čarnoŭ      

The material was prepared using WHO information and information from open sources