COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on all our lives - but it’s affected some of us far more profoundly than others. That’s why WHO is urging all countries to take steps to build a fairer, healthier world.

Afghan health worker

Vulnerable people around the world affected by tuberculosis (TB) cannot wait any longer for quality testing, treatment and care. According to the Stop TB Partnership, COVID-19-related disruptions for TB services have reversed nearly 12 years of progress against the deadly infectious disease. Marginalized groups, such as refugees and mobile populations with limited access to health care, are bearing the brunt of these overlapping crises. UNDP is working to address the urgent threat of TB and remove barriers to care and prevention among Afghan refugees.

midwife with patient

In 2020, UNFPA trained community midwives in villages and remote rural areas and established 170 home clinics by covering the costs of renovation, equipment like ultrasound machines, medicines and reproductive health supplies. A solar suitcase provides lighting, mobile phone charging and electronic fetal monitoring. Since opening her home clinic more than a year ago in the economically depressed neighborhood of Sawan, Rahma has helped more than 120 women. In addition to midwifery, she provides check-ups, family planning, minor surgery and first aid.   

illustration of man reading in hut and woman hanging laundry

The “Living with the Times” toolkit contains illustrated posters with key messages for older adults on how to maintain their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

young woman feeding ducks

The health of animals, people, plants and the environment is interconnected. One Health is an integrated approach that recognizes this fundamental relationship and ensures that specialists in multiple sectors work together to tackle health threats to animals, humans, plants and the environment. The global impact and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a human health crisis caused by a virus passed from animals, highlights the need for coordinated action across sectors to protect health and prevent disruption to food systems. FAO promotes One Health in work on food security, sustainable agriculturefood safetyantimicrobial resistance (AMR), nutrition, animal and plant health, fisheries, and livelihoods.

man showing off vaccination record

The COVID-19 pandemic has undercut recent health gains, pushed more people into poverty and food insecurity, and amplified gender, social and health inequities. COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those communities that were already vulnerable and more likely to experience adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic. This World Health Day, we are calling for action to eliminate health inequities, as part of a year-long global campaign to bring people together to build a fairer, healthier world.

Children playing on swings at a playground.

Sport can help promote fairness, teambuilding, equality, inclusion, and perseverance. Sport can also cross boundaries and defy stereotypes, inspire hope across nations, and help us get through times of crisis, like COVID19. The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (6 April) presents an opportunity to recognize the role that sport and physical activity plays in communities and in people’s lives. Let’s help end the pandemic by ensuring everyone is protected from COVID-19. Let’s level the playing field and recover better. #OnlyTogether will we play or cheer again. #SportDay

cart transporting women

Ambovombe is a landlocked district in southern Madagascar, where only about half of health facilities are accessible year-round because of poor roads and challenging terrain. And even if one could get there, the cost of transportation is too high, resulting in 61 percent of births taking place outside of a health facility. When COVID-19 struck, even more patients stopped going to health centres. For five months, two mobile clinics covered more than 10,000 kilometers to serve 59 remote localities in seven districts. 

Collage of tiles of health worker images.

For World Health Worker Week (5-9 April), let's call on policymakers to listen to health workers and then act for them. Health workers know best what they need to be safer, healthier, and more prepared to end the COVID-19 pandemic, prevent future disease outbreaks, and ensure access to essential services for their communities. This year, we are calling on your support and action to ensure that our health and care workforces are supported, protected, motivated, and equipped to deliver safe health care at all times, not only during COVID-19.

A woman holds a video camera while kids hold up their arms.

In an extraordinary demonstration of creative energy, the second edition of the WHO Health for All Film Festival has attracted nearly 1200 short film submissions from 110 countries.

A healthcare worker transfers the vaccine from the vial to a syringe.

The global COVID-19 vaccination campaign will be the largest in history. The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines presents challenges unprecedented in scale, speed, and specificities, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Anticipating the availability of safe and effective vaccines, the World Bank together with WHO, UNICEF, the Global Fund, and Gavi rolled out readiness assessments in more than 100 low and middle-income countries. As countries ramp up efforts to vaccinate their populations, the world’s poorest countries show varying degrees of readiness.

Boys going down a water slide.

Since 2013, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Happiness to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end povertyreduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.  The Day recognizes happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. The United Nations invites everyone to join in and celebrate happiness!

A boy with Down syndrome looks out the window of a bus.

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21. It is not yet known why this syndrome occurs, but it exists across the globe and results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics and health. This World Down Syndrome Day focuses on improving connections to ensure that all people with Down syndrome can CONNECT and participate on an equal basis with others. Due to the pandemic we all had to adapt the ways we connect, yet many people have been left behind. Let’s connect in an increasingly inclusive way and to recover better.

Dr. Soumya stands for a photo op surrounded by health workers

In this episode of Awake at Night, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation (WHO), shares her insights on how lessons from other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV have shaped our response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The clinical scientist also discusses how new technologies have given us the possibility to control diseases in ways we’ve never had before.

women in pink at a demonstration

Breast cancer survival rates in high-income countries far exceed those in low-income countries. The establishment of WHO’s new Global Breast Cancer Initiative follows a steady escalation in the recognition of breast cancer as a public health priority during the last decades. Through the Initiative, WHO, working in unison with other UN agencies and partner organizations, will provide guidance to governments on how to strengthen systems for diagnosing and treating breast cancer, which in turn is expected to lead to improved capacities to manage other types of cancer.