As the world marks World Health Day, inequality is one of the issues that has been highlighted by the World Health Organisation. | Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
As the world marks World Health Day, inequality is one of the issues that has been highlighted by the World Health Organisation. | Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Inequality the focus of World Health Day

By Mphathi Nxumalo Time of article published Apr 7, 2021

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Durban - WITH the globe commemorating World Health Day on Wednesday, inequality was one of the issues highlighted by the World Health Organisation.

The organisation said: “As Covid-19 has highlighted, some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others - entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.”

The WHO said some people struggled to make ends meet as they received little income, suffered poor housing conditions and had little or no access to food security and health services, among other issues. This led to people suffering from avoidable illness, premature death and which harmed society and economies.

“Covid-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, and who are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health-care services and were more likely to experience adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic,” it said.

The organisation said this as the Covid-19 monitor at the Johns Hopkins University, in the US, showed that more than 2.86 million people from around the world have died from the disease, with more than 131 million people infected.

According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize there have been 52 995 deaths as of Monday, with more than 1.5 million cases detected in the country. KwaZulu-Natal had more than 10 236 deaths and more than 230 000 confirmed cases.

DKMS Africa, formerly known as the Sunflower Fund, said for this World Health Day people needed to be selfless for others. Spokesperson Traci Sassenberg said people could start by doing a swab test and go on a global database where they could be possibly paired with someone who needed a bone marrow transplant. “People want to donate, but don’t know how to,” she said.

The South African Red Cross Society’s KZN team leader, Siyabonga Hlatshwayo, said food security was an issue for them. He said looking at the current situation, there was a large emphasis on fighting Covid-19.

“Although there is nothing wrong with this, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis should not be forgotten. If these diseases were forgotten there could be a rise in these diseases and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

Hlatshwayo said home-based care was another important health aspect. He also highlighted how the coronavirus has impacted the economy and led to job losses. Hlatshwayo said inequality existed and this was why the organisation prioritised helping “the most needy” in society.

“People needed to educate themselves as on health issues,” Sassenberg said.

Treatment Action Campaign national chairperson Sibongile Tshabalala, said for World Health Day they wanted quality health for all. “In our context, we call for the finalization of the NHI Bill, taking into account all submissions made that ensure that we ensure full coverage – including of sections of the population that are rendered vulnerable and/or invisible - and do not provide sub-par services,” she said.

She called for everyone who goes to a clinic to be screened for tuberculosis. Although the government had a critical role to play, the TAC called on funding agencies to prioritise TB and HIV funding in order for the state to meet its targets.

Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja said they would be aligning their World Health Day theme with that of the WHO and would make an announcement on it.

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