April 7: World Health Day

Apr. 7, 2021. On April 7, 1948, the World Health Organization was founded.  The WHO has promoted World Health Day on this date ever since.

Until last year, most of us were probably not aware of the importance of promoting global health.  The COVID-19 Pandemic has shown us that a microscopic virus can quickly affect the entire planet and reveal the apparent presence of health inequities in our society and throughout the world. Sociologists generally list the following parts as social determinants of health:  public safety, housing, access to health services, environmental exposure, socipeconomic status, health behaviors, food access, employment, transportation, education, and social capital.  Many "isms" such as racism and ageism along with "phobias" such as xenophobia and transphobia can negatively impact these societal determinants.

How do these large-scale determinants impact our lives here in Western Massachusetts?  Consider, for example, the local impact of the pandemic.  The aptly named "novel" coronavirus initially had many unknowns except two:  the virus was spreading rapidly and many people were getting very sick with some of those dying alone in hospital beds. Safety has understandably been the priority; first with lockdowns and personal protective supplies, then with environmental strategies, and finally, with the vaccines.  Last year, many of us scrambled to find basic hygiene supplies like hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and even toilet paper.  Some of us faced the emotional and mental stress of losing our jobs yet others who were working tried to support their school children at home while internet access to education was not always available.  As public vaccination programs were phased in, some found scheduling appointments to be time-consuming and difficult to manage while those who lacked the time or the transportation were unable to get to large scale sites.  While these inconveniences pale in comparison to the issues faced by many others in the world, they are examples of how quickly a global issue can impact our local health.

Thankfully, many of us have learned that we can persevere and, as our grandparents used to say "make do" while continuing to be vigilant about following public health measures.  We invite you to learn more about the overall impact of health inequities on health outcomes.


PS:  Please remember:  Submit the Symptom Report Form each day.  Also, there are still several openings for the free weekly pooled testing for Covid project; especially at Smith Academy.  To enroll your children, please complete and submit the Gingko Lab Consent Form

Further information is available here.