According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of the world’s 7.6 billion people lack access to essential health and 100 million people are pushed into “extreme poverty,” which is defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.90 per day in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms. PPP is an economic theory that is utilized to compare economic productivity and standards of living between countries and across time by way of comparing different countries’ currencies through a “basket of goods” approach.

Equally gruesome, there are 800 million people, accounting for about 12 percent of the world’s population, that spent at least 10 percent of their household budgets in 2017 to pay for health coverage. Given these numbers, World Health Day, the universal day that emphasizes the importance of health issues across the globe, is using this year to bring up the debate on whether or not universal health coverage could turn out to be economically efficient. Despite the idea of universal health coverage looking good on paper, the issue has been criticized on many different levels.

Global health awareness has become an important topic of discussion throughout the years and has been on the forefront of many political and humanitarian conversations around the world, which has made World Health Day a more prominent part of global activism.

World Health Day first started in 1950 after the World Health Organization (WHO) held the first World Health Assembly in 1948.

During that initial meeting, the assembly decided that April 7 would be the annual day of celebration. Ever since its founding, World Health Day has been a global health awareness day under the WHO’s sponsorship, and it is also one of eight official global health campaigns put on by the WHO.

The WHO’s responsibility for World Health Day is to organize international, local and regional events based on each year’s theme, and the theme tradition has been occurring since 1995, when the first theme was Global Polio Eradication in response to the virus’ reaches across the world. This year, the theme is “universal health coverage,” which has become a major topic of political discussion in recent times due to the large number of global citizens without insured health coverage.

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