Skip to content

World Health Day is celebrated every year on the anniversary of the founding day of the World Health Organization. It’s a day to focus on and raise awareness around health issues that affect people all over the globe.

So get ready to learn about and celebrate World Health Day!

History of World Health Day

The history of World Health Day is directly linked to the formation of the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization is an agency of the United Nations that focuses on the public health of the world at large. The WHO has a constitution that countries involved in the United Nations had an opportunity to sign, and unanimously did, agreeing to the tenets laid out within to promote the general health of the globe.

Established in 1950, World Health Day is an important event that includes a theme each year that is meant to draw attention to a current health issue in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has 194 member states who are tasked with putting together regional, local, and international events on this day related to the particular health theme. Local governments also tend to jump on this band-wagon of promoting health issues. After all, global health means everyone on the planet!

The World Health Organization has been involved in mobilizing many health efforts all over the world for the past 70 years by describing what medicines are essential for public health and which diseases to give a particular focus to.

One important success of the WHO was the movement to eradicate smallpox. It started in 1958, initiated by pressure from Viktor Zhdanov, the Deputy Minister of Health for the then USSR. In just over 20 years, in 1979, the WHO declared that smallpox had in fact been eradicated, making it the first disease in history to be eliminated by the dedicated efforts of humans working together from all over the globe.

Through the efforts of this organization, the world has seen the eradication of smallpox, and its focus then turned to communicable diseases, with a particular focus on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization has also played an important role in the experience of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus.

Each year, World Health Day focuses on a particular theme. Themes throughout the years have varied, but they always cover important issues of the day, including everything from the Global Polio Eradication and staying active while aging, to road safety. All of these issues have been deemed to be important enough to global health that they merited an occasion of their very own on this date.

Some other themes worth noting have included:

Our Planet, Our Health

Building a Fairer, Healthier World

Support Nurses and Midwives


Health for All: Everyone, Everywhere

World Health Day Timeline


United Nations is founded 

When meeting to found the UN after World War II, the conversation begins about the need for a global health organization.[1]


First World Health Assembly is held

The World Health Organization holds the first World Health Assembly, which is the highest health policy setting body on the globe.[2]


First World Health Day is celebrated 

Taking place on July 22, this day is held in honor of the signature of the 61 nations who signed the WHO charter.[3]


World Health Day is moved to April 7

To commemorate the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World health day is held on April 7.[4]


World Health Day theme: Our planet, our health 

Each year the day employs a different theme and the theme for 2022 is related to taking care of the environment.[5]

How to Celebrate World Health Day

Celebrating and observing World Health Day can be done by individuals, families, schools, churches and other community organizations. It’s a great time to connect with others over important themes. Try out some of these ideas to get started with celebrating and enjoying the day:

Care for Your Family’s Health

On this day many people may choose to take some extra steps to care for their own personal health and the health of their families. This is a great time to consider getting a gym membership (and going!), starting a plan for healthier eating, or beginning to take multivitamins. It’s always a good time to take steps toward being healthier personally.

Get Involved with World Health Day Events

Everyone can take a hand in improving the overall health of the world, just by starting with themselves, their family, and their community. Even better than just making it personal is making it all about the surrounding community!

This is the ideal time to get involved with the local events related to World Health Day. Or if it is difficult to find something that is already organized, many people might take the initiative and organize a WHD even themselves. Perform a search to see what types of events have been created by organizations or hospitals in the local community, then volunteer to help or attend. Blood banks are often taking volunteers to help out with their efforts, and the ability to have healthy, fresh blood on hand is central to saving many lives.

Share World Health Day with Others

Spreading the news of health and threats to the same can be an excellent way to celebrate this day. Use this time to get connected and inform others of the important issue of global health. Whether making a campaign to raise awareness at the office or at school, printing posters, inviting others to a lecture or gathering, or simply telling a friend, this is a great time to use that sphere of influence for good.

Learn About the Current World Health Day Theme

Everyone needs to be concerned about the health of themselves and their community and, as such, it’s a good time for everyone to turn their attention to this year’s theme. By checking in at the World Health Day website, it’s possible to find out what the current theme is, as well as accessing all sorts of plans, resources and activities that will help raise awareness about this important issue. Make it a family, school or community tradition to keep up with it every year, and play a big part in helping to promote global health all around!

Organize World Health Day Fundraisers

Celebrating World Health Day is very important, and it can be used to organize fund-raisers to support local free clinics and other public health sources. Get some friends, family members or coworkers on board and host a charity event. Join a walk or run to raise awareness and funds, or simply make a personal donation to a worthy cause that helps promote the health of the people of the world.

Learn More About Local Health

Another opportunity for celebrating World Health Day is also to take the task at home, by getting to know the local environment and property, and eliminating all possible sources of standing water. Standing water is a breeding ground for insects such as mosquitos, who spread disease by consuming the blood of its hosts, and moving from victim to victim, spreading it as it goes. So this year, take some time to spread the word about how neighbors and the local community can contribute to the improvement of the world’s health, on World Health Day!

World Health Day FAQs

When is World Health Day?

World Health Day is celebrated each year on April 7 to commemorate the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO).[1]

What is World Health Day?

World Health is observed as a global awareness day to encourage participating nations to promote information and resources related to better health.[2]

Why is World Health Day important?

This day is important because it draws attention to and builds awareness for specific health concerns.[3]

How to celebrate World Health Day?

To celebrate this day, join in on local activities, raise awareness of the need for better health, learn more about the World Health Organization or volunteer at a health care center.[4]

When was World Health Day first celebrated?

World Health Day made its debut in 1949 on July 22, and then it was moved to April 7 in 1950.[5]

Also on ...

View all holidays

International Beaver Day

Beavers are very important for the environment, creating natural dams and helping cleanse water. Help raise awareness about the threats facing this declining species.

National Schwa Day

Discover the enigmatic sound at the heart of linguistics, a subtle symbol of linguistic nuance and pronunciation variance.

Girl, Me Too Day

Fostering unity, women empower, uplift, and champion one another, creating a powerful network of solidarity.

View all holidays

We think you may also like...

World Diabetes Day

Raise awareness of this common condition, “go blue” to show your support and make lifestyle changes that improve your health on World Diabetes Day.

National Senior Health & Fitness Day

As we age, exercise and health get more difficult, but also more important. Explore options like low-impact exercise and water workouts for health in old age.

World Autism Awareness Day

Learn about the symptoms and effects, be better prepared to help those with autism in your life, or participate in a fundraiser or event on Autism Awareness Day.

World Arthritis Day

Educate yourself on arthritis, consider taking steps to prevent it, and raise awareness to guide policy in order to help those who suffer from this condition.