On April 4, 2018, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) assistant scientist Nino Paichadze joined colleagues in celebrating World Health Day 2018 at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO director, kicked off the 2018 event, which was titled “Universal health: everyone, everywhere.” In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Etienne spoke about some of the challenges for universal healthcare in the region of Americas including financial, geographical, and institutional barriers. She also stressed the importance of multi-sectoral cooperation, advocacy, and activism in order to achieve universal healthcare in the region. 

“In the age of growing burden of chronic conditions and injuries, it should be a political priority for countries to advance universal healthcare and guarantee equitable access to quality healthcare for all, especially for minorities, vulnerable groups, and those with physical or mental disabilities,” said Paichadze, who represented JH-IIRU at the event. “Universal health should be based on strong health systems and multi-sectoral cooperation and should encompass all levels of care in order to optimize health, address the needs with equity, and minimize the burden of illness.”

In her keynote presentation, Dr. Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and chairperson of the high-level commission “Universal Health in the 21st Century: 40 years of Alma-Ata,” gave a brief overview of the region’s public health landscape before outlining actionable strategies to overcome inequality.

Said Dr. Bachelet, “We have to build national consensus, because the challenges are of such magnitude that they require the commitment and effort of all.”

On Saturday, April 7, JH-IIRU and the public health community formally celebrated World Health Day—organized by the World Health Organization, now in its seventieth year.

To learn more about the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, a WHO Collaborating Center for Injuries, Violence, and Accident Prevention, please click here.

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Dr. Carissa F. Etienne welcomes attendees to the World Health Day 2018 event at PAHO headquarters.