World Health Day
HOME · Mind & Body

World Health Day: Why it Matters and How to Get Involved

Celebrated annually on April 7th, World Health Day raises global awareness about health issues and promotes well-being for all. 

Established in 1948 by the World Health Organization (WHO), this observance day emphasizes the need to tackle urgent health concerns and advocate for policy changes to enhance health outcomes. 

World Health Day focuses on a specific theme each year, providing a focal point to bring together governments, organizations, and individuals to address the associated health challenges.

Equally important, World Health Day reminds us of the need for universal health coverage and access to quality healthcare for everyone, everywhere. 

Communities worldwide are encouraged to unite to support the cause, working together to bridge the gap and reduce health inequalities. Read on to learn more about its history and how to get involved. 

Featured in: April - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

World Health Day History and Background

Man putting mask in child
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

The World Health Organization (WHO) founded World Health Day on April 7, 1948. Acknowledging the urgent need for a global platform to tackle pressing health issues, the first World Health Assembly introduced this annual event in 1950. 

Annually, World Health Day focuses on a specific theme that emphasizes a crucial global health issue. In 2020 the theme was “Support nurses and midwives.” While in 2022 was “Our planet, our health,” and in 2023, “Health for all.”

The 1950 inaugural event focused on the ever-persistent threat of malaria, laying the groundwork for future initiatives and campaigns. 1966 saw the launch of the smallpox eradication campaign4, while 1988 marked the collaboration between WHO, UNICEF, and Rotary International in initiating the polio eradication effort.

World Health Day's history is rich with efforts to combat various health subjects, from mental health to vector-borne diseases. These endeavors seek to promote global health and have sparked significant change and progress in numerous areas of global health. 

The Cause and Its Challenges

World Health Day is dedicated to tackling the urgent matter of global health equity. The day campaigns for healthcare access for all - no matter their financial or social standing. 

Sadly, the unfortunate reality persists that countless people worldwide lack essential healthcare services, preventing them from living healthy, fulfilling lives. World Health Day strives to instigate change and gather resources to fill these gaps. To do so, it highlights healthcare access and quality disparities.

Addressing equitable access to Healthcare

Folks from all walks of life face numerous challenges; the most pressing issues involve poor access to healthcare, insufficient resources, and social determinants of health. Factors such as income, education, employment, social support, and environment shape a population's overall well-being. 

For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that nearly half the world's population still lacks full coverage of vital primary health care services. Shockingly, healthcare expenses force 100 million people into extreme poverty every year2.

Besides monetary hurdles, other obstacles include a need for more public health workers, especially in remote or rural areas. The unequal burden of infectious and non-infectious diseases on impoverished populations also exacerbates the pressure on under-resourced health care systems. 

Mental health disorders and the effects of climate change on global health also present enormous challenges. By brokering and understanding the scope and intricacy of these problems, World Health Day aspires to spark collective action to address the urgent demand for fair healthcare access worldwide.

5 Important Facts About World Health

  • A staggering 2.2 billion people worldwide struggle with inadequate access to clean water, while 4.2 billion lack proper sanitation. This alarming situation contributes to the spread of waterborne diseases, disproportionately impacting children in low-income countries.
  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, account for a massive 73% of all deaths worldwide. NCDS hit low- and middle-income countries the hardest. 
  • Mental health disorders are more common than you might think, affecting one in four people at some point in their lives. Yet, many affected people don't receive the needed treatment and support. This gap in mental health care contributes to the global disease burden.
  • The far-reaching effects of climate change are increasingly impacting global health. Experts estimate an additional 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. 
  • Research has linked environmental pollution to about 9 million premature deaths yearly1. A leading cause of death worldwide, air, water, and soil pollution devastate our health. This highlights the urgency for stronger environmental regulations, improved waste management, and increased public awareness. 

Read more: Mental health facts and explore the link between mental health and climate change

Efforts and Initiatives

World Health Day is an ideal platform for international organizations, governments, nonprofits, and local communities to collaborate to address pressing global health issues. 

For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) partnered with governments and NGOs in 2019 to successfully launch the campaign themed "Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere." This initiative highlighted the crucial need for quality healthcare services accessible to everyone3, regardless of socioeconomic status. As a result, the campaign sparked increased awareness, incited policy discussions, and fostered capacity building in countries across the globe.

In recent years, local community efforts have played a vital role in this and many other World Health Days recognized by the United Nations alongside smaller national events. Health fairs and workshops educate the public on various health issues. Neighborhoods worldwide organize many of these ground roots initiatives. And they all share the aim to raise awareness and encourage healthier lifestyle choices. 

Nonprofits and NGOs, like the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, have made significant strides, too. By organizing events such as blood drives and health camps, they not only support World Health Day but also raise essential awareness about the importance of good health. 

Additionally, celebrities and influencers effectively utilize their platforms to share crucial information and champion a healthy life for all. These combined efforts ensure World Health Day's objectives resonate with diverse audiences. Our collective efforts all contribute to fostering a healthier and safer world where everyone is empowered to make informed decisions about their well-being.

How to Get Involved and Support World Health Day

Man riding bike
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

One of the most effective ways to participate in and celebrate World Health Day is by attending local events or activities. You'll find plenty of options to get involved. Look out for informative seminars and hands-on workshops to exhilarating walks and runs organized by community organizations. Engaging in these happenings heightens awareness and cultivates a sense of community around pressing health concerns.

Furthermore, you can connect with your network and spark discussions on vital health topics. Sharing thought-provoking posts, eye-catching infographics, and impactful videos on social media helps.

For those with a passion for hands-on engagement, volunteer at local health clinics, hospitals, or non-profit organizations. Seek opportunities that resonate with your interests and skills. Opting to devote your time to enhancing the health of those around you is a great way to get involved.

Additionally, organizing fundraisers like charity runs or bake sales can generate essential funds to support health initiatives and related organizations. Many of these rely on donations and support to continue their vital work raising awareness across various public health concerns. 


This annual event raises awareness about the significant importance of global health challenges. From the COVID-19 pandemic and non-communicable diseases to health equality, we still have a lot of ground to make. It encourages cooperation among the international community, organizations, and governments to create a healthier world.

By pushing for improved healthcare policies, adopting healthier lifestyles, and donating to organizations devoted to enhancing global health, we can shape a better future for future generations.

World Health Day FAQs

1. What is World Health Day?

World Health Day is a global awareness day celebrated annually on April 7th to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) and to raise awareness about important health issues.

2. Why is World Health Day important?

World Health Day is important because it raises awareness about major global health challenges and encourages individuals and communities to take action to improve their health and well-being.

3. How can I get involved in World Health Day?

You can participate in World Health Day by participating in local events, sharing information about health issues on social media, and supporting organizations that improve global health.

4. What are some examples of health disparities around the world?

Health disparities include unequal access to healthcare, differences in health outcomes based on race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, and disparities in health education and awareness. These disparities often lead to poorer health outcomes for marginalized communities.


Prüss-Üstün, Annette, Wolf, J., Corvalán, Carlos F., Bos, R. & Neira, Maria Purificación. (‎2016)‎. Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks. World Health Organization. 


Kruk, M. E., Gage, A. D., Arsenault, C., Jordan, K., Leslie, H. H., Roder-DeWan, S., Adeyi, O., Barker, P., Daelmans, B., Doubova, S. V., English, M., García-Elorrio, E., Guanais, F., Gureje, O., Hirschhorn, L. R., Jiang, L., Kelley, E., Lemango, E. T., Liljestrand, J., Malata, A., … Pate, M. (2018). High-quality health systems in the Sustainable Development Goals era: time for a revolutionThe Lancet. Global health6(11), e1196–e1252.


Kieny, M. P., Bekedam, H., Dovlo, D., Fitzgerald, J., Habicht, J., Harrison, G., ... & Travis, P. (2017). Strengthening health systems for universal health coverage and sustainable development. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 95(7), 537-539.


Henderson D. A. (1987). Principles and lessons from the smallpox eradication programmeBulletin of the World Health Organization65(4), 535–546.

Photo by Ir-One M on Unsplash
Pin Me:
Pin Image Portrait World Health Day: Why it Matters and How to Get Involved
Sign Up for Updates