World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). The day provides WHO with a unique opportunity to mobilise action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.
The theme for 2017 World Health Day campaign is Depression: let’s talk. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide. In fact, it is not only the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, but also the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds.
The overall goal of the year-long campaign is to ensure that more people around the world seek and get the help they need.
Over the past decade, Australia Awards – Africa has equipped over 650 African professionals in the health sector with skills and knowledge to support the development and delivery of healthcare services. Several small grants have been offered by the Australian government for health professionals to carry out research that can bring sustainable solutions within the sector.
Some of the alumni who are bringing a change in the health sector include:
Dr Llang Maama-Maime Llang – Lesotho
Bartholomew – Ghana
Dr Angela Gichaga – Kenya