News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – On Sunday, April 7, countries globally will observe World Health Day.

World Health Day, held every year on April 7, marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 and each year focuses on a specific public health concern. Bermuda joins the international community in raising awareness of the right to health as the threat of disease, war, disability, psychological distress, climate change, and poverty risk millions of lives globally. To address these challenges, the 2024 World Health Day is themed, ‘My Health, My right’. 

According to the World Health Organisation’s Council for the Economics of Health for All, at least 4.5 billion people or more than half of the world’s population were not fully covered by essential health services in 2021. This year’s theme was chosen as a means of championing the right of all residents to quality health care, education, safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, a decent working environment, and freedom from discrimination. 

Director of the Pan American Health Organisation, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa commented: “As we celebrate World Health Day, PAHO reiterates its commitment so that all people in our Region, boys, girls, adolescents, men, and women without any discrimination based on ethnic or racial origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, language, national origin, socioeconomic status, disability, or any other condition, can effectively say: “My health is not a privilege, it is my right.”

The Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, shared a World Health Day message for the community.

“The right to health is an important issue, and the Bermuda Government remains committed to putting Bermuda on the road to equal access to healthcare for all. It is a reminder of the number of resources available to everyone in the community seeking more information on the prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

“It is worth reminding the public that the foundation has been laid for the introduction of Universal Health Care as outlined in the Government’s 2024/25 Budget. The results of the STEPS population health survey and the continuing of the HEARTS risk management programme will assist in defining the core benefits package for Universal Health Care, which is targeted for launch in July 2025.

“We are fortunate in Bermuda to have legal protections for workers that ensure employers provide health insurance to employees working over 15 hours per week or two months out of the calendar year as per the Health Insurance (Exemption) Regulations 1971. The Ministry of Health continues to make advances to address the gaps in service to those who are under or uninsured in the community. As outlined in this year’s Throne Speech, renovations are underway for the Mangrove Bay Clinic to offer services to people where they are most needed.

“As part of our Bermuda Health Strategy, the Ministry of Health strives to ensure everyone can access quality health care. One of the strategic principles in the Strategy is promoting healthy living and preventative care. We want to empower the community to lead healthy lifestyles by enabling people to increase control over, and improve, their physical and mental health.

“As we celebrate World Health Day this Sunday, I want to remind everyone to focus on improving our overall well-being. Exercise, choose healthy food, drink plenty of water, enjoy being outside in the sunshine and fresh air, and have a routine that promotes good mental health.”