Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Health Day, observed on 7 April:
On this World Health Day, we highlight the inequalities and injustices of our health systems.
The COVID-19 crisis has revealed how unequal our societies are. Within countries, illness and death from COVID-19 has been higher among people and communities that contend with poverty, unfavourable living and working conditions, discrimination and social exclusion.
Globally, the vast majority of vaccine doses administered have been in a few wealthy countries or those producing vaccines. Thanks to the COVAX initiative, more nations are now beginning to receive vaccine supplies, but most people in low- and middle-income countries still must watch and wait.
Such inequities are immoral, and they are dangerous for our health, our economies and our societies. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must implement policies and allocate resources so all can enjoy the same health outcomes. That means achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. And it means delivering universal health coverage so everyone, everywhere, can thrive.
On this World Health Day, let us commit to work together for a healthy, equitable world.