On this World Health Day 2021, we still find ourselves facing the global COVID 19 pandemic. There have been approximately 131,487,572 confirmed cases and 2,857,702 reported deaths worldwide.
In comparison to last year’s World Health Day 2020, which took place during the most prominent months of COVID 19, there’s a breakthrough in 2021. Advancements of a vaccine against COVID 19 are continuously being tested and distributed to people all over the world. Over 690 million people have received the new vaccines, which are not yet 100% proposed cures against the virus.
Although these vaccines have brought a sense of hope to people, the distribution of them has so far been highly inequitable. The director of the WHO (World Health Organization) used the word “grotesque” in reference to the amount of rich countries who’ve purchased vaccines. As the pandemic is still present, the rich continue to retrieve the vaccines first which decreases the amount accessible to lower income countries. Places living in poverty are more susceptible to COVID 19 as they already lack proper resources and health care. It’s a selfish action that promotes privilege and risks the continuous increase of reported cases.
Health is a right and a public problem that must be approached in a comprehensive manner. It’s about guaranteeing adequate and close medical care for all, but also – as we have clearly seen over the last year – accessibility to basic necessities. This includes: drinking water, decent living conditions, adequate food, an uncontaminated environment/ living space, etc.
The way in which we have been neglecting and exploiting our ecosystems, with consequences ranging from the pollution in the air we breathe to environmental catastrophes that cause forced migrations around the world, must also be reviewed. The coronavirus pandemic, of zoonotic origin, is also a wake-up call. With that stated:
The need to strengthen public health systems to guarantee care for all people must be a consensus that exceeds the emergency. International cooperation to guarantee universal access to vaccines and health is an ethical mandate.
From Equity for Children: we accompany the call to build a more just and healthy world, on this World Health Day and every day.