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World Health Day

World Health Day

World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April annually, marks the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948. 1Although WHO concerns itself with all health issues globally, the theme on World Health Day serves to highlight an important health issue, illness or disease affecting the public. The day provides individuals and communities an opportunity to become involved in activities that can ultimately lead to better health2 – a key objective close to the Self-Medication Manufacturers Association of South Africa’s (SMASA) goal of creating awareness for better health choices and lifestyles through responsible self-care.

The theme this year focuses on vector-borne diseases. Vector-borne diseases include tick-borne diseases, yellow fever and malaria and are most commonly found in tropical areas and places where access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation systems is a problem. Factors such as travel and climate change contribute to the transmission of vector-borne diseases. 3 An estimated one billion people are infected and more than one million die from vector-borne diseases annually. 4 Transmission of vector-borne diseases are from one person to another, from animal to person via organisms named vectors, such as mosquitoes, ticks and sandflies. 5

A few ways to prevent vector-borne diseases include:
• Use an insect repellent in areas where ticks and mosquitoes are prevalent.
• Do a ‘tick check’ after outdoor activity and exposure to animals.
• Minimise the exposure of skin after dark.
• Sleep in a netted or screened area. 6

1. http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2014/event/en/
2. http://www.calendarlabs.com/holidays/international/world-health-day.php
3. http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2014/event/en/
4. http://www.trust.org/item/20140402133433-l8nt7/?source=hppartner
5. http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/emerging_and_vector-borne_diseases/vector-borne_diseases/pages/index.aspx
6. http://www.fpnotebook.com/id/prevent/prvntnofvctrbrninfctn.htm