Every April 7, the World Health Organization chooses to highlight a special theme current in the wellness and medical world. Ranging from mental health to insurance and everything in between, this day sets the tone for what’s to come in the world stage. This year’s World Health Day will shine a light on nurses and midwives, the on-the-call, restless workforce that revolutionized the healthcare industry as we know it today.
History of World Health Day
To talk about World Health Day, we need to talk about the creation of the World Health Organization as a whole. In December 1945, officials of Brazil and China proposed the creation of an international health organization, that is all-encompassing and absolutely independent from any government powers.
Half a year later, in New York, in July 1946, the constitution of the World Health Organization was approved. Said constitution entered into force on April 7, 1948, as 61 countries signed in agreement for the inception of the NGO.
As one of the first official acts of WHO, they created the celebration of World Health Day. It was first observed on July 22, 1949, but the date was later changed to April 7, the establishment of WHO, to encourage student participation.
Since 1950, the Worth Health Day uses a different theme and theme each year selected by the current WHO Director-General, based on the suggestions of the member governments and staff.
World Health Day provides a global opportunity to focus attention on important public health issues that affect the international community. On the occasion of World Health Day, promotional programs are launched that continue for a long time after April 7.
World Health Day 2020 will shine a light on the vital role played by nurses and midwives in providing health care around the world, where advocacy events will be held around the world, including the launch of the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing Report, which will provide planning to optimize the contributions of the nursery workforce, with a similar report on the Midwifery workforce to be done in 2021.
World Health Day timeline
- April 7th, 1998
On the 50th anniversary of WHO, World Health Day tackles the topic of safe motherhood.
- April 7, 1950
The first World Health Day is celebrated.
Setting the Date
April 7 is designated as World Health Day in the First Health Assembly to celebrate the creation of WHO.
An organization is born
At the United Nations Conference in San Francisco, a motion to create a new and independent organization dedicated to discuss health topics was passed.
World Health Day FAQs
What were the past themes for World Health Day?
There are a variety of themes that were highlighted in World Health Day, from direct illness discussions like diabetes and polio, to bigger topics, like road safety and the effect of climate change on our health. Nothing is off limits in the pursuit of health.
What can I do to help on World Health Day?
Volunteer at your local charities and organizations. You can also become a blood or bone marrow donor. But overall, take measures to stay healthy and be courteous to your medical staff.
What is the best way to make sure I don’t get sick?
Listen to your body: make sure you’re getting enough physical activity, sleep and eating healthy. And if you’re ever in doubt, always make sure to consult a professional and make wellness checks part of your routine.
How to Observe World Health Day
Organize a conversation in your community
WHO offers free information toolkits for organizers. Take the challenge and lead a conversation in your community about a current healthcare issue.
Read up on past year's themes
With over 50 years of health days in the archives, it can be an interesting exercise to look at how far — or not — we have come in healthcare. You might learn something interesting and relevant even from older information.
Thank your nurses!
This year’s World Health Day is focused on them, so make sure to thank them! Flowers, tweets or any nice gesture will go a long way for sure!
Go back ages
The first confirmed record of the existence of nurses dates back to 300 AD in the Roman Empire.
They are made for walking
On average, nurses walk four to five miles in a regular 12-hour shift.
A large share
Nursing students represent about half of all health field students in a higher education level.
A flexible job
Being a profession with universally recognized practices means that a registered nurse can work anywhere in the world.
A variety of positions
Not all nurses work in hospitals — there’s a plethora of other jobs available, from forensics to educators and much more in between.
Why World Health Day is Important
Why World Health Day is Important
World Health Day inspires action on a global scale World Health Day is one of WHO's eight official global health campaigns. The day sparks awareness activities and media reports.
It's a chance to learn something new
By choosing a different theme each year, World Health Day ensures that we are always learning! WHO picks each year's subject based on a current pressing health issue and dedicates the week to conferences and activities about the topic.
It brings us together
World Health Day can also be an important day to reflect on your own health. Conversation can help reduce stigma associated with illness and lead to more people seeking support and treatment.
World Health Day dates