World Health DayWorld Health Day is celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 1948, the World Health Organization held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. The World Health Day is held to mark WHO’s founding, and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. The WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the Day related to a particular theme. Resources provided continue beyond 7 April, that is, the designated day for celebrating the World Health Day.

World Health Day is acknowledged by various governments and non-governmental organizations with interests in public health isssues, who also organize activities and highlight their support in media reports, such as through press releases issued in recent years by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Global Health Council.

World Health Day 2012

The theme of World Health Day 2012, marked on 7 April 2012, is devoted to “Ageing and Health”. Life expectancy is going up in most countries, meaning more and more people live longer and enter an age when they may need health care. Meanwhile birth rates are generally falling. Countries and health care systems will need to find innovative and sustainable ways to cope with the demographic shift. As reported by John Beard, director of the WHO Department of Ageing and Life Course, “With the rapid ageing of populations, finding the right model for long-term care becomes more and more urgent.”

Different activities are being organized by WHO as well as non-governmental and community organizations around the world to mark World Health Day. For example, Yogathon (an Art of Living Initiative) – a marathon of Surya Namaskar – is scheduled to happen in 100+ cities across the globe. Millions of people are expected to participate in that event to make awareness of Yoga as a part of healthy living.

Themes of World Health Days

  • 2012: Ageing and continuing good health
  • 2011: Anti-microbial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow
  • 2010: Urbanisation and health: make cities healthier
  • 2009: Save lives, Make Hospitals Safe in Emergencies
  • 2008: Protecting health from the adverse effects of climate change
  • 2007: International health security
  • 2006: Working together for health
  • 2005: Make every mother and child count
  • 2004: Road safety
  • 2003: Shape the Future of Life: Healthy Environments for Children
  • 2002: Move for Health
  • 2001: Mental Health: Stop Exclusion, Dare to Care
  • 2000: Safe Blood Start with Me
  • 1999: Active Aging Makes the Difference
  • 1998: Safe Motherhood
  • 1997: Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • 1996: Healthy Cities for Better Life
  • 1995: Global Polio Eradication