Tomorrow is World Health Day! In its 70th year of celebration, World Health Day is organised by the World Health Organisation and is founded on the principle that all people should be able to realise their right to the highest possible level of health. This year, the theme is universal health coverage. They’re calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and commit to concrete steps to advance the health of all people. This means ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial difficulties.
To mark the day and spread awareness of this incredibly important topic, we thought we’d share these 10 facts you might not know about world health.
1. Life expectancy at birth increased globally by 6 years since 1990
A baby born in 2012 could expect to live to 70 years on average – this is worked out as being 62 years in low-income countries to 79 years in high-income countries.
2. Around 6.6 million children under the age of 5 die each year
And most of these lives could be saved if they had access to simple and affordable healthcare & interventions – exclusive breastfeeding, vaccines, medication, clean water and sanitation. This is something WHO works with governments and partners worldwide to implement effective health systems that save this children’s lives.
3. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in the world
Around 3 in 10 deaths globally are caused by cardiovascular diseases (these are diseases of the heart and blood vessels that can cause heart attacks and stroke.) Research suggests that at least 80% of these premature deaths could be prevented through a healthy diet, regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco.
4. Mental health disorders such as depression are among the 20 leading causes of disability worldwide
It is said 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health condition and depression alone affects around 300 million people worldwide and this number is projected to increase. Fewer than half of those people affected have access to adequate treatment and health care.
5. Every day, about 800 women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth
Maternal mortality is where we see a huge gap between the rich and the poor, both between countries and within them. WHO does some amazing work to improve this, assisting countries to improve their care before, during and after childbirth.
6. Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year
More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless anything is done to change this, the yearly death toll could rise to over 8 million by 2030.
7. Almost 1 in 10 adults has diabetes
Almost 1 in 10 adults in the world diabetes, measured by elevated fasting blood glucose. This increases their risk of heart disease and stroke, and the deaths caused by diabetes have been increasing since the year 2000, reaching 1.5 million deaths in 2012.
8. Nearly 3500 people die from road traffic crashes every day
And this is only set to rise as the number of people who own a vehicle increases due to economic growth in developing countries.
9. Global Health Is Largely A Man’s World
Among World Health Organization member states, only 28 percent of the top health officials are female
10. Impacts of climate change are causing unlikely health problems
According to Juli Trtanj, a NOAA climate and health researcher, it’s said that rising sea temperatures have meant that the vibrio cholerae bacteria, which can cause cholera, is able to exist in shellfish in Alaska and is causing wound infections among fishermen and others.
Want to spread awareness for this awesome cause? Make sure to shout about World Health Day on social media, using the hashtag #HealthForAll.