World Health Day 2024, History, Theme, Significance

World Health Day 2024

Each year, World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th, commemorating the establishment of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on April 7th, 1948, the day acts as a worldwide awareness campaign with the motive to combat major health challenges that impact individuals globally. But, do you know what constitutes health?

As defined by WHO, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Thus, health goes beyond just the absence of disease, having a positive attitude towards their bodies, maintaining an emotional and psychological balance that promotes a sense of fulfillment and happiness along with having emotional support, belongingness, and overall life satisfaction. WHO has operationalized this definition by taking holistic approaches, particularly on World Health Day. The organization takes a comprehensive approach to promoting global health awareness and addressing major health challenges through campaigns, promotions, collaborations, and community engagement globally.

World Health Day 2024: HISTORY

As we delve deeper into the historical events that led to the establishment of World Health Day, the time takes back to the days of World War 2 (1939-1945), which had profound and far-reaching health effects on individuals, communities, and Nations. As Joseph Stalin said, “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic”. World War 2 resulted in a huge humanitarian crisis and highlighted a wide range of public health challenges like malnutrition, infectious diseases, and inadequate healthcare infrastructure thus, the idea of creating an international health organization gained momentum. This led to the establishment of The United Nations(UN) in 1945 and subsequently created WHO, as a specialized agency of the UN to promote health and address global health issues. Since then, April 7th has been observed annually as World Health Day to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation and a global health awareness day.

World Health Day 2024: THEME

World Health Day and its themes are decided to aim to increase awareness, inform the public, and inspire action. Therefore, World Health Day 2024’s theme is ‘my health, my right’. signifying that every individual inherently holds the right to enjoy the utmost standard of physical, mental, and social well-being.

Health as a human right has been recognised by many countries, in India, Article 21, of the Indian Constitution guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty which implicitly mentions the right to health as a human right. As per the data of the WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All, at least 140 countries identify health as a human right in their constitution, but around 4.5 billion people i.e., almost half of the world’s population are still not covered by essential health services in 2021.

Such data reflect the urgency of making health a fundamental right and justifies the chosen theme of World Health Day,‘ My health, my right’, so that availability, affordability, and accessibility of health can be ensured to every individual irrespective of gender, background, or socio-economic status.

 World Health Day 2024: SIGNIFICANCE

  •  Education and information: Such events draw attention to major issues faced worldwide.
  •  Global campaign: World Health Day is one among 11 Global health campaigns organized by WHO in which resources collaboration and cooperation are received globally.
  •  Universal health coverage:  Create awareness and ensure accessibility of healthcare services to the last person of the society respective of their socio-economic condition.
  •  Crisis management: Act as a reminder to prepare, prevent and mitigate existing or emerging health crisis on an international level.
  •  Broad range of annual themes: From fighting against diabetes(2016) and depression (2017), supporting midwives (2020), combating non communicable disease (2014) till health as a right (2024).
  • Sparks conversations about health policies: Urges governments and policymakers to evaluate their healthcare systems, prioritize public health concerns, and dedicate to strategies enhancing health outcomes.
  •  Fosters the creation of networks and partnerships: It facilitates collaboration among organizations, communities, and individuals. This collective effort strengthens endeavors to tackle complex issues effectively.
  • Attitude Change: Such events contribute to shaping attitudes and encouraging positive and healthy lifestyle changes that act as a preventive measure to reduce health challenges.
  • Addressing misconceptions: They help debunk myths and promote understanding, thereby diminishing social stigma and discrimination associated with certain health conditions like AIDS etc.


  •  When was the first World Health Day celebrated?

 The first World Health Day was celebrated on April 7th, 1950.

  • Who decided to celebrate 7th April as World Health Day?

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO, which decided to celebrate 7th April as World Health Day during the first World Health assembly meeting in 1948.

  • What was the theme of the first World Health Day?

 The name of the first World Health Day was ‘Know your health services’.

  • Who decides the subject of World Health Day?

Each year, based on submissions from member nations and WHO personnels, the WHO Director-General choses a new topic every year as subject for World Health Day.


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