The founding of the World Health Organization - WHO is marked by World Health Day and is an occasion to raise awareness of key global health issues. The theme for this year is "Small Bite, Big Threat".
At Sangam University Bhilwara which has established a rich tradition of observing days of national and international importance on a regular basis, World Health Day was duly observed on 07 April 2014. On this occasion Prof BR Natarajan President - Vice Chancellor shared the following with the faculty and students of Sangam University.
To quote WHO which was established on 07 April 1948, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".
It is surprising to know that more than half of the world's population faces the danger of diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and such vector-borne diseases which are caused by organisms (vectors) that transmit pathogens and parasites from one infected person or animal, to another. The most commonly known vectors are mosquitoes, sand flies, bugs, ticks and snails, which can transmit a wide range of parasites and pathogens.
40% of the world's population is at risk from dengue. An estimated 1.3 million new cases of Kala Azar (leishmaniasis) occur annually. Malaria has been one of the biggest causes of death worldwide. Vector-borne diseases affect the poorest populations, particularly where there is a lack of access to adequate housing, safe drinking water and sanitation. Malnourished people and those with weakened immunity are especially susceptible.
Environmental changes, a massive increase in international travel and trade, changes in agricultural practices and rapid unplanned urbanization are causing an increase in the number and spread of many vectors worldwide and making new groups of people, notably tourists and business travellers, vulnerable. "Mosquitoes, flies, ticks and bugs may be a threat to your health - and that of your family - at home and when traveling" is the message of this year's World Health Day, on 7 April by WHO.
"Vector borne diseases which have the biggest impact on some of the world's poorest people are indeed preventable. One can protect oneself and their family by taking simple measures such as sleeping under a bednet, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and trousers and using insect repellent" was the special message on this occasion to the students and faculty of Sangam University which came from alumnus of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, Maryland Dr Urvashi Kaushik who also holds a Masters in Public Health from Birla Institute of Technology and Science - BITS Pilani and has been associated with organizations such as HelpAge, UNICEF, Hriday and Public Health Foundation of India.