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Our planet, our health

World Health Day has been celebrated on 7 April since 1950, the date marking the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation.

This year’s theme, "Our planet, our health", focuses on global environmental threats and the urgent actions needed to keep people healthy and to preserve the planet as a resource for human health

This year’s theme, "Our planet, our health", focuses on global environmental threats and the urgent actions needed to keep people healthy and to preserve the planet as a resource for human health | Author Nadia Grapes/Shutterstock.com

This year’s theme, "Our planet, our health", focuses on global environmental threats and the urgent actions needed to keep people healthy and to preserve the planet as a resource for human health. We are encouraged to think about how each of us can contribute to the better health of our planet and, by extension, ourselves.

As Minister of Health Janez Poklukar points out, "Caring for the environment and health must be a priority for our society. Whatever we believe in, we can all support the need to make the world a better and safer place for ourselves, our children and future generations."

Clean water, air and food are among the fundamental challenges of modern society. We cannot escape climate change and its consequences. Water scarcity, soil degradation, problems with air and soil quality, pollution, growth of diseases and the list goes on. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 13 million deaths a year worldwide have avoidable environmental causes.

In 2021, the World Health Organisation adopted new global guidelines for air quality and health protection of the population by reducing levels of key air pollutants. In 2015, countries committed to implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Ostrava Declaration, which succeeded the commitments of the Parma Declaration, which was successfully implemented in Slovenia through the Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People in Relation to the Environment, commits us to taking action to reduce the burden of disease from environmental pollution, in particular in the form of climate change mitigation measures agreed in the Paris Agreement. As part of the efforts at EU level, the European Cancer Action Plan measures aimed at preventing cancer by reducing emissions from fossil fuel use are also implemented.

According to Statistical Office, an average of seven out of ten citizens of EU-27 member states (aged 16 or over) in 2020 considered their general health to be good or very good. The share of this population was highest in Ireland (83.0%), Greece (78.6%) and the Netherlands (77.9%) and lowest in Lithuania (44.3%). In Slovenia, 67.2% of the population felt this way, slightly lower than the EU-27 average (69.5%).