World Health Day is commemorated on 7 April all over the world, to raise awareness and draw attention towards the importance of global health. To mark this occasion, The.Ismaili highlights the need to take care of one’s well being in the face of increasing public health concerns.

Health is not restricted to physical well-being, but it also encompasses social, mental, and emotional dimensions. The theme of World Health Day 2019 is “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.” This means that every individual should have access to the quality health services they need, whenever and wherever in the community without facing financial hardships.

Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study conducted in 2017 indicate that coronary heart disease, neonatal disorders, stroke, lower respiratory infections, diarrhoea, road injuries, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) accounted for more than 1 million deaths each worldwide in 2017.

All over the world, governments, United Nations agencies, non-profit organisations, and private initiatives are working to ensure that quality health care is available, especially to marginalised sections of the community.

Health-focussed agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network work with such institutions to supplement the services available to the public in a number of regions in the developing world. Speaking at the opening of the Phase II expansion of the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Princess Zahra remarked on these efforts:

“The Aga Khan Development Network and Aga Khan Health Services are a leading not-for-profit health care operations working in 12 different countries, operating 20 hospitals and nearly 500 health centres that provide quality health care to more than five million patients in a year, working closely with government and other institutions in areas of service delivery, population health, capacity building and cross cutting themes, medical and nursing education, digital health, health care financing and quality of care development.”

In areas where the Jamat resides, Aga Khan Health Boards advise members of the community around topics such as non-communicable disease, Early Childhood Development, mental health, and other conditions and considerations.

The Chairman of the Aga Khan Health Board in India, Dr Sulaiman Ladhani, says, “There has been an increase in the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and childhood obesity along with mental health issues in the Jamat. Sedentary lifestyle, faulty eating habits, and stress seem to be the biggest risk factors.”

Dr Ladhani emphasises the importance of taking early action to avoid difficulties later.

“Healthy lifestyle measures, especially during childhood, can go a long way in preventing such illnesses. Screening, early detection, as well as timely referrals to prevent complications are also helping in overcoming these life-threatening illnesses.”

World Health Day provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on how best to take care of your health and that of your family.

Here is a handy list of points that can help you and your family stay healthy:




- Eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, and pulses.

- Walk, jog, or exercise 45 minutes a day for five days a week.

- Have regular check-ups and screenings.

- Pursue a hobby, meditate, or take up sport to maintain good mental health.

- Consider a health insurance policy.

- Eat highly processed and junk foods which only provide empty calories.

- Be a couch potato glued to the TV or computer or phone.

- Smoke or consume alcohol or drugs.

- Stress or get frustrated about everything and anything.

- Compromise on your and your family’s health.