Protecting our planet and our health on World Health Day 2022
“Are we able to reimagine a world where clean air, water, and food are available to all?
“Where economies are focused on health and well-being?
“Where cities are livable and people have control over their health and the health of the planet?”
It is a startling fact that the answers should be obvious, but these are complex and pressing questions which have no straightforward or clear pathway to prosperity. And so too is it a fact that today, the global scale of healthcare inequalities and the challenges we currently face are unprecedented.
The ambition of ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages – the premise of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 – has never looked more relevant than it has during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, as the world comes to terms with the worst healthcare crisis for more than 100 years. Achieving the goals of SDG 3 requires a strategic and unified effort, but it is an effort that must be made to ensure a brighter future for every community in every corner of our planet.
WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes, including the climate crisis which is the single biggest health threat facing humanity.
In 2020, the Jameel Family increased its commitment to improving global access to healthcare with the establishment of Abdul Latif Jameel Health, reflecting their long-standing commitment to innovating for a better future. Working with the global investment arm of the Jameel Family, JIMCO (the Abdul Latif Jameel Investment Management Company) and its dedicated JIMCO Life Sciences Fund, Abdul Latif Jameel Health is accelerating access to modern medical care with a series of targeted investments and distribution agreements, with specific focus on the Global South.
While our society has made significant advances against many causes of death and disease – life expectancy has increased; infant and maternal mortality rates have decreased; and malaria deaths have halved – a snapshot of key data from the same report shows that:
- 400 million people have no basic healthcare
- 6 billion people live in fragile settings that present a significant challenge to global health
- Every 2 seconds, someone aged 30-70 dies prematurely from noncommunicable diseases
- More than 19 million children do not receive essential vaccines during the first year of life.
It is no easy task to find long term solutions to major healthcare challenges such as the spread of infectious disease, the need for new drugs, faster disease detection, more efficient injury and illness treatment, and to reduce the gap in access to healthcare between developed and developing societies. It requires a new level of global cooperation and partnership. But this is precisely the kind of collaboration that organizations such as the WHO and the UN were established to promote, and which the Jameel Family strongly supports.