By Cecilia Ologunagba
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to invest more in health facilities and services to build a fairer and healthier post-COVID-19 world.
WHO appealed in a statement issued from its headquarters in Geneva to commemorate World Health Day (WYD), which is celebrated around the world on April 7.
The WHD is a global health awareness day celebrated annually on April 7, sponsored by the WHO, as well as other related organizations.
According to the statement, COVID-19 has unfairly affected some people harder than others, exacerbating existing inequalities in health and well-being within and between countries.
“For WHD, WHO is therefore launching five calls for urgent action to improve health for all.”
The United Nations health agency said in countries, illness and death from the COVID-19 pandemic had been higher among groups facing discrimination, poverty, social exclusion and adverse daily living and working conditions – including humanitarian crises.
“It is estimated that the pandemic pushed an additional 119 to 124 million people into extreme poverty last year.
“And there is compelling evidence that this has widened gender gaps in employment, with more women leaving the workforce than men in the past 12 months.
“These inequalities in people’s living conditions, health services and access to power, money and resources have been around for a long time.
“The result: Under-5 mortality rates among children from the poorest households are double those of children from the richest households.
“The life expectancy of people in low-income countries is 16 years less than that of people in high-income countries. For example, nine in 10 deaths worldwide from cervical cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.
“But as countries continue to fight the pandemic, a unique opportunity presents itself to build back better for a fairer and healthier world by implementing existing commitments, resolutions and agreements while making new and better commitments. bold”.
The statement, however, quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.WHO Director-General, as saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic has thrived amid inequalities in our societies and shortcomings in our health systems.
“It is vital that all governments invest in strengthening their health services and removing the barriers that prevent so many people from using them, so that more people have the chance to live healthy lives.”
According to the statement, WHO is issuing five calls to action to accelerate equitable access to COVID-19 technologies between and within countries and to invest in primary health care.
The world health agency would also issue actions on building safe, healthy and inclusive neighborhoods; strengthen health data and information systems and prioritize health and social protection.
Further, according to the statement, Ghebreyesus said: “Now is the time to invest in health as a driver of development.
“We don’t need to choose between improving public health, building sustainable societies, ensuring food security and adequate nutrition, tackling climate change and prospering local economies.
“All of these vital results go hand in hand.” (NOPE)
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