As a new year and a new decade kick-off, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is releasing a list of urgent, global health challenges. This list reflects a deep concern that leaders are failing to invest enough resources in core health priorities and systems. This puts lives, livelihoods and economies in jeopardy. Public health is, ultimately, a political choice.
Countries invest heavily in protecting their people from terrorist attacks, but not against the attack of a virus, which could be far more deadly, and far more damaging economically and socially.
This means advocating for national funding to address gaps in health systems and health infrastructure, as well as providing support to the most vulnerable countries. Investing now will save lives – and money – later. There are no shortcuts to a healthier world. 2030 is fast approaching, and we must hold our leaders accountable for their commitments.
The challenges are not listed in order of priority. All are urgent, and many are interlinked.
1. Elevating health in the climate debate
2. Delivering health in conflict and crisis
3. Making health care fairer
4. Expanding access to medicines
5. Stopping infectious diseases
6. Preparing for epidemics
7. Protecting people from dangerous products
8. Investing in the people who defend our health
9. Keeping adolescents safe
10. Earning public trust
11. Harnessing new technologies
12. Protecting the medicines that protect us
13. Keeping health care clean