Health for All is an encompassing goal, one which many fear may not be achieved in many lifetimes. B-Side breaks down some of the social issues that stifle this feat…
●7th April 2023
On April 7th 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) will be celebrating its 75th birthday. The theme for this year is titled “Health for All.” Such a note-worthy theme can be attributed to the fact that for the organization, this is a milestone birthday, bringing about a period of reflection and hopes for the years to come. This theme pretty much represents what the organization has been working towards since its origination. On the official website, it is termed the “ultimate goal”, one which was brought forth and exemplified through the very constitution of the great organization. As a joint partnership between one hundred and ninety-two countries, the WHO is a recognized neutral venture, one which seeks to bring about the good of all. The website also pens six core goals of the seven plus decades, which are a reflection for the next seventy-five years to come. The first goal is the theme, the second following “Alleviating Deadly Diseases”. Next, we have “Protecting People from Pandemics” and the fourth, “Peace for Health, Health for Peace”. The fifth goal is “Guiding Policy and Standards for Health” while the sixth is “Preventing Diseases through Vaccination”
Unfortunately, so many obstacles stand in the way of this feat being achieved. Capitalism, lack of human rights, ‘passport privilege’ and marginalized access to healthcare all diminish peoples’ chances of achieving good health. While the majority of these issues listed could be under one umbrella, which is the economical background, other issues such as lack of human rights are more complex. Women’s barriers to healthcare—and health as an extension—are more complex, since the medical industry itself is biased against them. Majority of healthcare interventions were completely tailored or created to favor cis heterosexual white men. Other issues, such as religious or spiritual beliefs rarely get considered as severe barriers to health, since healthcare workers are not allowed to stand against another person’s personal beliefs. A good example of this situation is the growing number of anti-vaxxers and their stern denial of science. While remedies are available to this sub-set of people, there is a deliberate decision to choose illness—or lack thereof.
In developing countries like Nigeria where access to healthcare is already incredibly sub-standard, you have ‘faith leaders’ regularly encouraging people to discard medicine and instead believe or hope for miracles from their supreme being. This conditions them to become distrustful of healthcare workers and even more likely to shun their instructions. Many people with these beliefs see illness as a test of their faith, so they are likely to distrust and reject health providers as people who seek to turn them away from fulfilling a destiny.