Health Current Affairs

April 7: World Health Day

World Health Day was celebrated all over the world on April 7, 2014. Theme for 2014 was “Vector-Borne Diseases (VBDs)”. The campaign for World Health Day this year is ‘small bite: big threat’. Mosquitoes, flies, ticks and bugs may be a threat to your health – and that of your family – at home and when travelling.

What are Vectors? 

Vectors are organisms that are transmit pathogens and parasites from one infected person or animal, to another e.g. mosquitoes, bugs, ticks, freshwater snails, etc.

Which VBDs (Vector Borne Diseases) are of concern especially in India?

  • As per WHO, VBDs make up for more than 17 % of diseases.
  • Some VBDs are almost present globally viz. malaria, dengue, schistosomiasis, Human African trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Onchocerciasis, etc.
  • In India, VBDs affecting people include malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, kala-azar, lymphatic filariasis and chikungunya. 
  • In India, issues related to these VBDs are addressed by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • People suffering from diabetes are more susceptible to VBDs because of the fact that high blood sugar in their bodies (resulting in high susceptibility), and lower levels of immunity, makes them more prone to VBDs.

World Health Day

World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to focus on increasing the life expectancy by adding good health to the lives of people and promoting healthier living habits. The First World Health Assembly was held by WHO in 1948 where it was decided to celebrate April 7 (to mark WHO’s founding) of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. 

Objective: April 7 every year is seen as an opportunity by the WHO to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Formation: April 7, 1948
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Head: Margaret Chan
Parent Organization: United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

Themes of World Health Days:

  • 1950:“Know your Health Services”.
  • 1951:“Health for your Child and World’s Children”.
  • 1952:“Healthy surroundings make Healthy people”.
  • 1953:“Health is Wealth”.
  • 1954:“The Nurse: Pioneer of Health”.
  • 1955:“Clean water means better Health”.
  • 1956:“Destroy disease carrying Insects”.
  • 1957:“Food for All”.
  • 1958:“Ten years of Health progress”.
  • 1959:“Mental illness and Mental Health in the World of today”.
  • 1960:“Malaria eradication – A world challenge”.
  • 1961:“Accidents and their prevention”.
  • 1962:“Preserve sight- prevent Blindness”.
  • 1963:“Hunger= Disease of millions”.
  • 1964:“No Truce for Tuberculosis”.
  • 1965:“Smallpox – constant alert”.
  • 1966:“Man and his Cities”.
  • 1967:“Partners in Health”.
  • 1968:“Health in the World of Tomorrow”.
  • 1969:“Health, Labor and Productivity”.
  • 1970:“Early detection of Cancer saves Life”.
  • 1971:“A full life despite Diabetes”.
  • 1972:“Your Heart is your Health”.
  • 1973:“Health begins at Home”.
  • 1974:“Better food for a healthier World”.
  • 1975:“Smallpox: Point of no return”.
  • 1976:“Foresight Prevents Blindness”.
  • 1977:“Immunize and protects your Child”.
  • 1978:“Down with High Blood pressure”.
  • 1979:“A healthy Child: A sure future”.
  • 1980:“Smoking or Health: Choice is yours”.
  • 1981:“Health for all by year 2000 AD”.
  • 1982:“Add life to years”.
  • 1983:“Health for all by year 2000 AD: Countdown has begun”.
  • 1984:“Children’s Health: Tomorrow’s Wealth”.
  • 1985:“Healthy Youth- Our best Resource”.
  • 1986:“Healthy living: Everyone a winner”.
  • 1987:“Immunization: A chance for every Child”.
  • 1988:“Health for All: All for Health”.
  • 1989:“Let’s talk Health”.
  • 1990:“Our Planet our Earth: Think Globally Act Locally”.
  • 1991:“Should Disaster Strike, be prepared”.
  • 1992:“Heart beat: A rhythm of Health”.
  • 1993:“Handle life with care: Prevent violence and Negligence”.
  • 1994:“Oral Health for a Healthy Life”.
  • 1995:“Global Polio Eradication”.
  • 1996:“Healthy Cities for better life”.
  • 1997:“Emerging infectious diseases”.
  • 1998:“Safe motherhood”.
  • 1999:“Active aging makes the difference”.
  • 2000:“Safe Blood starts with me”.
  • 2001:“Mental Health: stop exclusion, dare to care”.
  • 2002:“Move for health”.
  • 2003:“Shape the future of life: healthy environments for children”.
  • 2004:“Road safety”.
  • 2005:“Make every mother and child count”.
  • 2006:“Working together for health”.
  • 2007:“International health security”.
  • 2008:“Protecting health from the adverse effects of climate change”.
  • 2009:“Save lives, make hospitals safe in emergencies”.
  • 2010:“Urbanization and health: make cities healthier”.
  • 2011:“Anti-microbial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow”.
  • 2012:“Good health adds life to years”.
  • 2013:“Healthy heart beat, Healthy blood pressure”.
  • 2014:“Vector-borne diseases”.


Climate change may lead India to war: UN report

UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its report evaluating affects of climate change on human health, settlements and natural resources issued a warning that if no actions are taken to limit the ill-effects of global warming, Asia may face pressure on water resources and food-grain production in the future, thereby mounting the risk of armed conflict amongst India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.

Albeit the report doesn’t have any country-specific forecastings, the region-wise findings in the report have thrown many eye-opening conclusions for India. As per the Report, if steps are not taken to control the rise in temperature:

  • India might lose up to 1.7% of its GDP if the yearly mean temperature rises by 1 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrialization level.
  • India might face extreme weather events, viz. flash floods in Uttarakhand and cyclone Phailin in Odisha.
  • ‘Beach tourism’ in India, could be affected.
  • Increase in risk of armed conflict around the world as it aggravates poverty.

Key indications/ findings from the report:

  • In most parts of the world, coming times experience more extreme weather events viz. floods, cyclones, cloud bursts, unseasonal excessive rains and drought, etc.
  • Amongst the most affected nations in Asia would be: Bangladesh, China, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Climate change will be an influential factor in designing of national security policies.
  • By middle of the 21st century, stern pressure on fresh water resources in South Asia and China (Himalayan river basins) may develop into a basis for armed conflict in the region.
  • Coastal flooding will affect tourism in India.
  • Fall in food-grain production (wheat in India and Pakistan; wheat and maize in China)
  • Sea-level rise will affect coastal cities like Mumbai and Kolkata
  • Fishing community will be affected, as some marine fauna will face extinction by 2050
  • Himalayan Glaciers continue to shrink, affecting water resources downstream
  • Human health will be affected by climate change, mainly by exasperating health issues.

UN IPCC Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability