World Health Day: UN Chief, UNGA President salute healthcare workers

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
Tijjani Muhammad-Bande

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the President of the General Assembly (PGA), Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, have paid tribute to all healthcare workers battling the novel coronavirus around the world.

In separate video messages to mark the World Health Day 2020, the top UN officials expressed gratitude to the workers for their frontline sacrifices in the fight against the pandemic.

“My message today is to our healthcare workers: the nurses, midwives, technicians, paramedics, pharmacists, doctors, drivers, cleaners, administrators, and many others, who work day and night to keep us safe.

“Today, we are more deeply grateful than ever to all of you, as you work, round the clock, putting yourselves at risk, to fight the ravages of this pandemic,” Guterres said.

Celebrated globally on April 7 every year, the World Health Day marks the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the same date in 1948.

It also seeks to draw global attention to important health issues facing the world each year.

This year’s edition focuses on nurses and midwives and reminds world leaders of the critical role they play in “keeping the world healthy”.

“Nurses shoulder some of the biggest healthcare burdens. They perform difficult work and endure long hours, while risking injury, infection, and the mental health burden that accompanies such traumatic work.

“Midwives provide comfort at the beginning of life. During a pandemic, their work is even more challenging, as you bring our newborns safely into this world. To the nurses and midwives of the world: thank you for your work.

“In these traumatic times, I say to all healthcare workers: we stand with you and we count on you. You make us proud; you inspire us. We are indebted to you,” the UN chief added.

In his message, Muhammad-Bande, who is Nigeria’s ambassador to the UN, solicited public solidarity and support for all healthcare workers to defeat COVID-19.

“Healthcare workers cannot do this alone. It is incumbent upon each of us to take action. The onus is on us as individuals to wash our hands and practice social distancing.

“It is our collective responsibility to take multilateral action to combat COVID-19. I call on member states to continue to give their full support to all healthcare professionals who are on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus.

The Nigerian envoy also commiserated with the families and loved ones of those who have died from the disease, while wishing those infected quick recovery.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had underscored the need for a “biosocial approach” to strengthen “our health systems and uphold our promise to leave no one behind”.

The PGA urged member states to use the day to reflect on the first high-level meeting of the current session of the Assembly which focuses on global health.

“In a landmark political declaration on universal health coverage, Heads of State and Government committed to scaling up national and global efforts to build a healthier world for all.

“World leaders acknowledged that an investment in health is an investment in human capital, social and economic development, and the empowerment of all people. On World Health Day, and every day, solidarity is our first line of defence,” he said. (NAN)

– Apr. 7, 2020 @ 10:35 GMT |

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