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Good health is one of the most important ingredients for a happy and productive life. And yet, many people do not have access to health care and live in conditions that spread disease. Nearly 11 million children die before they reach their 5th birthday and each year half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth. Most of these deaths can be prevented!

World Health Day, on April 7, is an opportunity to highlight the progress that has been made to create a safer, healthier world and the steps that still need to be taken. This day commemorates the creation on April 7, 1948 of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations' specialized agency for health.

World Health Day is a good time to debate the issue of 'universal health care.' In 1948, one of the declarations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated that all people should have access to the medical care they need to lead healthy lives. Today, the United States is the only major industrialized country that does not provide health care for all of its citizens.

World Health Day is also a time to remind governments about their commitment to focus on health issues in the Millennium Development Goals, which all of the World's leaders agreed to at the United Nations in the year 2000. All nations have pledged to specific goals in reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases by the year 2015. Some progress been made, but much more needs to be done.

On World Health Day thousands of global activities take place to re-ignite interest from the public, organizations, media and governments to focus attention on sustainable activities throughout the year to create a healthier world for all, and to remind us that 'good health' is more than just the absence of disease - it is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.




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