Each year, on the 7th of April, World Health Day is celebrated, bringing awareness to a different current health issue each year. The first World Health Assembly was held by the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 7th, 1948, and so from 1950 onwards, that day has been celebrated all over the world.
Previous World Health Day Themes
Each year, the organization draws attention to a global health-related subject of significant importance, which they then also focus on for the rest of the year. Past years have seen themes relating to healthy blood pressure, ageing and health, investing in health, and protecting health from the effects of climate change. Each year, the campaigns run for World Health Day have specific objectives relating to the theme, from raising awareness to actively encouraging and helping people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. One of the most successful themes was the Global Polio Eradication campaign, held in 1995. Since then, polio awareness rose considerably, with the majority of the world managing to free themselves of the disease.
World Health Day 2015 – How Safe is Your Food?
The theme for the 2015 World Health Day was food safety, focusing on all of the many factors that pose a threat of some sort to our food systems. Around 2 million people, including children, die every year because of unsafe food. These either contain harmful bacteria, viruses or chemicals that can cause over 200 different diseases, of which cancer is just one. The WHO released a practical guide to safer food, to not only help commercial food vendors, but also to help those who handle food at home. The guide is simple, with just five points; separate raw and cooked food, keep clean, keep food at safe temperatures, cook food thoroughly, use safe raw materials and water.
As mentioned earlier, the theme that is chosen for World Health Day is also the subject that WHO devotes a significant portion of time and resources to for the remainder of the year. This year, in addition to their helpful text guides and informative posters, WHO is harnessing the power of social media, using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Vine. They are inviting social media users to share photos of their own plates of food that answer the questions of what safe food is, as well as how to ensure that your food is safe. WHO will also be bringing the topic of food safety to light this May at Expo Milano 2015, a 6 month exhibition held in Milan, Italy, with an exhibition area of 1.1 million square meters. Expecting to welcome over 20 million visitors, 140 different countries will be participating in this platform to exchange ideas on the theme of food.
Food safety is an issue that we are all aware of, but do not fully understand the significance of. With our food now crossing multiple borders before it arrives on our plates, it is extremely important that governments all over the world collaborate to ensure that our food is safe, and just as important for us as consumers to do the same.