In honor of World Health Day on April 7, our President and CEO, Mike Hennessy Jr, reflects on the founding of the World Health Organization in his monthly publisher's note.
World Health Day is held on April 7 each year,1 marking the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO), first established by the United Nations in 1948 to address global issues in health care.2 Although it may seem like news from this international health community only appears front and center during a major crisis or a policy shift, the organization in fact works diligently throughout the year to invest in their 6-point agenda, which includes the following3:
HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT: advocating for and addressing health concerns related to socioeconomic determinants
HEALTH AND SECURITY: working on processes to reduce health risks from new, existing, and mutating diseases
HEALTH SYSTEMS: looking to create stronger ties among primary health care and prevention, community-based rehabilitation, management of chronic conditions, nutrition resources, and mental health needs
INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE: creating guidelines on evidence-based interventions for health promotion/risk reduction
PARTNERSHIPS: strengthening partnerships with other organizations/health care systems for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, nutritional deficiencies, mental and substance use disorders, violence and injuries, and disabilities
PERFORMANCE: monitoring the above partnerships and evaluating progress at all levels.3
The WHO recently released a global brief that set forth actions and policy recommendations to safeguard the health of refugees and migrants. The brief also endorsed an initiative at the Fifth Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety in Montreux, Switzerland, to address avoidable harm in health care, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and scaled up operations with its Standby Partners in Ukraine to provide expertise in the country, including support for those experiencing mental health issues and help to stem gender-based violence.4
WHO is responsible for some of the most important achievements in modern health care, including vaccination programs that helped eradicate smallpox in 1979 and its leadership during the severe acute respiratory syndrome pandemic in 2003.5 This April, our hats are off to this important global community in health care.
President and CEO, MJH Life Sciences®
1. World Health Day 2023: health for all. World Health Organization. Accessed March 1, 2023. https://www. who.int/news-room/events/detail/2023/04/07/default-calendar/world-health-day-2023-health-for-all
2. History of WHO. World Health Organization. Accessed March 1, 2023. https://www.who.int/about/history
3. WHO: World Health Organisation. United Nations. Accessed March 1, 2023. https://www.un.org/ youthenvoy/2013/09/who-world-health-organisation/
4. News. World Health Organization. Accessed March 1, 2023. https://www.who.int/news
5. What does the World Health Organization do? Council on Foreign Relations. Updated June 2, 2022. Accessed March 1, 2023. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-does-world-health-organization-do
To read more from the April, 2023, issue of Contemporary Pediatrics®, click here.