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'Invest in Health, Build a Safer Future': World Health Day

The 'World Health Day' is celebrated on the 7th of April every year. It is also the day, which marks the founding of the World Health Organization. //The primary role of the World Health Day is to zero in on key health-related issues and to raise universal awareness. The theme for the year 2007 is ‘international health security’, with a special focus on urging world governments, business sectors and other non- governmental organizations to ‘invest in health and build a safer future’.

As we have observed in the recent years, there is a universal vulnerability to the out- break of epidemics, climate changes and natural calamities, upsetting nature’s balance. These international threats are brought about by some of the inevitable features of 'fast-age' such as increased speed and volume of air travel, vigorous food production and manipulating the environment to suit human needs. This has resulted in the emergence of new epidemic-prone diseases across the globe, while ensuring the rapid spread of the existing ones.

The pressures of the exploding population, urbanization, environmental degradation and changing climate, provides ample opportunities to the microbes- blessed with the ability to mutate and multiply- thereby challenging human existence. Misuse of antibiotics is another factor that worsens the already- grave scenario. Drugs are unable to match the pace at which the resistant variety evolves. Some of the ominous organisms doing the rounds are HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Hanta, Hendra, Nipah, H5A1 causing avian influenza, new variants of the bacterium causing epidemic cholera, microbes responsible for Legionnaire's disease and meningitis.

These disease outbreaks are historically unprecedented and are a far greater threat today than they were three decades ago. They maim the existing global economy and stretch the health system in every country, add ing to their burden. Unless drastic measures are adopted, this trend is likely to continue. No country is singularly equipped to deal with a crisis of international proportion. Increased collaboration among the nations of the world will help in the timely management of epidemic- prone disasters. There is also a need for greater co-operation between governments, corporate sector and citizens to ensure international preparedness and to provide a universal safety net to deal with pan-global health issues.

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