Talk About Health: World Health Day 2011

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By Christine Ennulat
Posted on 4/7/2011
 Woman in clinic consulting doctor in Senegal.
 In a community health hut in Senegal, a health worker measures a woman’s blood pressure.

Every April 7 is World Health Day, commemorating the founding of the World Health Organization. The public health arm of the United Nations is 60 years old this year.

World Health Day also shines the international spotlight on the state of children’s health, a key component of ChildFund’s work. ChildFund approaches children’s health from a broad variety of angles.

We have many projects supporting maternal and child health, in which ChildFund partners with communities and local organizations to reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity — in Honduras, for example.

We also have a strong focus on malnutrition, which plays a role in at least half of the world’s 10.9 million child deaths each year — that’s 5 million deaths. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness annually. We promote child nutrition in, among other places, Liberia, Senegal and even the U.S.

Our work to promote reproductive health among youth empowers young people to make healthy choices and not grow up too fast, leaving the way open for opportunity.

Our efforts to bring clean water and sanitation to Brazil, Timor-Leste and other countries are geared toward reducing the deadly threat of waterborne illness. One in eight people worldwide still lack access to safe water, and nearly 2.5 billion are without adequate sanitation.

And then there is our work to fight malaria, which is responsible for one in five child deaths around the world. But malaria gets its own world day.

World Health Day serves to spark many conversations around health in developing countries. It’s always a conversation well worth having.