The World Health Organisation celebrated its 70th birthday last week, offering a chance to reflect on its legacy and look at the challenges still ahead.
The WHO began in 1948, the same year as the NHS was formed and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights was instituted. It has become synonymous with those human rights and one of its foremost principles is that, “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”
This year’s 70th anniversary World Health Day had a focus on Universal Health Coverage. Tying back to the WHO’s principles as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Universal Health Coverage is a hugely important challenge.
In a piece for The Guardian, Lucy Lamble writes, “For all its imperfections, WHO still has a vital role. We need its convening power as much as we did in 1948. Its failings reflect our current global health inequality and its challenges the politics of redressing this.”
The Gardiner Foundation believes that Universal Health Coverage is a fundamental part of development. It is integral to, and can be helped by, our belief in poverty alleviation through self-employment and entrepreneurship.