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Statement by the Director-General of IDLO, Jan Beagle, on World Health Day 2020

Today, we commemorate World Health Day 2020 in the midst of a global health crisis which is growing exponentially, overwhelming hospitals and healthcare systems across the world. COVID-19 has suddenly upended the lives of millions in profound ways.

In the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, IDLO salutes and celebrates the contribution of nurses and mid-wives, as well as the many other health professionals, who are on the frontlines of the crisis saving lives and preventing the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining other essential services, such as maternal healthcare and childbirth, under strained systems. 

As an organisation working in all regions of the world, IDLO sees the rule of law, anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as central to achieving good health and well-being, laid out in Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The rule of law can contribute to the COVID-19 response by ensuring that medical professionals are able to fulfil their roles, by enabling access to critical services including healthcare for the poor and vulnerable and by promoting a just, equitable and sustainable recovery that helps build resilience against future shocks. 

Solidarity is more important than ever. IDLO stands in support of the World Health Organization’s leadership in responding to the current COVID-19 crisis and in its efforts to promote Universal Health Coverage by 2030.

As women make up 70% of the global healthcare workforce, women play a crucial role. It is essential to ensure their protection from harassment and discrimination and promote their full participation in decision making at all levels.

Sound laws, fair and accessible judicial systems, and empowered justice seekers are crucial to developing functioning health systems, eliminating discrimination in access to health services, and promoting affordable healthcare for all. IDLO will accelerate its efforts to help strengthen national capacity to deliver critical services, respond to public health emergencies, and promote effective, just and accountable governance including in the public health sector.

On World Health Day, IDLO joins the international community and pledges its support in promoting a rule of law-based response to COVID-19 and building a more peaceful, just and inclusive world.


The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.