World Health Day: Collaboration for a Healthier Planet

6th April 2022

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

We are in the midst of a pandemic; we exist on a contaminated planet and face increasing occurrences of diseases detrimental to the human race. World Health Day takes place annually on the 7th of April and presents the World Health Organization with an opportunity to encourage health awareness. This year’s “Our Planet, Our Health” theme reminds us that our health is determined by more than what the health sector can provide. We also need to put considerable effort into sustaining our environment to allow a better opportunity for a good quality of life for our society and, most importantly, future generations.

COVID-19 has violently impacted countries worldwide but has had a more severe impact on vulnerable groups in society, such as poverty-stricken ones. The lack of access to resources such as efficient health care services means that implemented solutions do not effectively combat the current pandemic. There is also a connection between the planet we inhabit and environmental factors that impact our health. The Harvard School of Public Health expressed that the effects of global warming can be linked with the quality of health we are experiencing today and how COVID-19 has inflamed the situation.

According to the World Health Organization, over 13 million deaths are attributed to environmental factors each year. A major health threat to humanity is the climate crisis, which represents a public health crisis. Chronic ecological exposure to radiation, natural disasters, and extreme weather conditions are considered risk factors for the environmental pressure currently being experienced. Human life and the environment are intertwined. The best conditions for health and well-being stem from a healthy environment. The pandemic demonstrated the progress scientific response has made with health resolution and highlighted the world’s racial, social, and economic injustices. It exposed the underlying flaws in our society, highlighting these inequities that need to be addressed to enable a better society. Achieving a healthy world includes building a society that promotes equity, environmental stewardship, and overall healthy well-being.