World Health Day 2020: Gratitude and Service

By Shelagh Maloney

The World Health Organization (WHO) established World Health Day in 1948 to raise awareness of the importance of health. On this World Health Day, that simple message – health is important – has never been more relevant.  

I can’t help but wonder what the founders of World Health Day would think about the 2020 version. Emerging from the shadows of World War II, they must have believed that the time of field hospitals and wartime triage was over. In their wildest imaginations, could they have envisioned a virus that would spread to nearly every country, upend global economies and place the world under lockdown? I don’t think so.

I expect though, that the people who knew health to be so important as to deserve its own day, would urge us now, more than ever, to acknowledge it.

Acknowledge it by celebrating and thanking those on the front lines. We are so fortunate that there are people who care enough to leave their homes and families each day to help however they can. To treat our sick, to comfort those who are grieving and isolated, and to give their utmost in the fight against COVID-19.  

I expect the World Health Day organizers would also remind us that this is the perfect day to appreciate our own health and to take steps to maintain it. On World Health Day 2020, that means staying inside as much as possible and practicing physical distancing. The evidence is very clear that these practices flatten the curve. As citizens, this is our service and our contribution to health care. It is the very least we can do to ensure that those who venture out to deliver essential services are not working in vain.

So please join the (digital) World Health Day celebrations. Canada Health Infoway is marking this important day by launching our new podcast series, Digital Health InfoCast. Starting today, and on the first Tuesday of every month, Digital Health InfoCast will share conversations about digital health from a variety of different perspectives. Up first – Dr. Rashaad Bhyat, a family physician working on the front lines and exploring “Innovation in a Time of Crisis.” I hope you’ll have a listen.

And Happy World Health Day.

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About the author
Shelagh Maloney

Shelagh Maloney

Shelagh Maloney is responsible for managing key stakeholder relationships at Infoway, including those with patients, clinicians and the federal government, as well as the standards community. She is also responsible for performance analytics and coordinating and executing communication and marketing efforts in support of Infoway products and services.