World Health Day Lesson Plan

Teacher's resource for World Health Day using stories, film. Includes classroom discussion guide.

Grades 9-12

World Health Day Lesson Plan


Students read the following hero stories on one or two of the themes: universal healthcare, compassion, community-based education.

Students then answer the questions in the discussion guide. 




After reading these stories and watching the video on Sasa, the students will have a deeper awareness of the importance of access to healthcare, and how it affects individuals and societies. 


World Health Day is a global health awareness day commemorating the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. It has been observed since April 7, 1950.  Each year WHO decides on an important global health issue to raise awareness and mobilize local communities to act.

2019 Theme

In 2019, the WHO decided on the issue of Universal Health Coverage.

Universal health coverage means everyone can use the quality health services they need, while not being exposed to financial hardship.


The message is:


- Health care is a right and people should have equal access to quality healthcare

- Rather than treating a single disease, a primary healthcare approach that focuses on well-being is more efficient and effective. 

- Universal health coverage is good not only for individuals, but societies

Healthcare is a Right

Tommy Douglas

By: Jade from Drayton Valley
Tommy Douglas was a Canadian politician who introduced the first single-payer, universal health care program in North America.

Jonas Salk

By: Austin from Victoria

Jonas Salk felt his polio vaccine had to be shared with the world.

Discussion Questions | Healthcare is a Human Right

1. What event in Tommy Douglas's childhood led him to say, "I felt that no boy should have to depend either for his leg or his life upon the ability of his parents to raise enough money to bring a first-class surgeon to his bedside." 

2. What would have happened to Tommy Douglas if a surgeon had not decided to operate on his leg so his students could watch. Do you agree with his statement?

3. What would Canada have lost, if Tommy Douglas had not been able to grow up and become a political leader?
4. Consider Jonas Salk's quote when he was asked why he didn't patent the vaccine for polio and profit from it: "You can't patent the sun." What values do his words reflect? 
5. Do you believe healthcare is a human right? What can get in the way of people getting access to healthcare? What are ways that more people can get access to healthcare?

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program


Dr. James Doty

By: Wendy Jewell
James Doty, M.D., FACS, FICS is a professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. His book, “Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart” is taking the world - and many classrooms in it - by storm. Compassion is key.

Melinda Gates

By: Wendy Jewell <br>The My Hero Project
Melinda Gates is passionate about helping mothers and children in developing nations.

Discussion Questions | Compassion

1. According to Dr. James Doty, what are the benefits of compassion? 
2. How does the Melinda Gates story illustrate the value of compassion?
3. What would have happened if Melinda and Bill Gates had ignored the poverty they saw in Congo?
4. What are some simple situations to big problems Melinda Gates discovered? What has been the impact of these simple solutions?

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Community-based Healthcare

Dr. Paul Farmer

By: Joyce from San Diego

Dr. Paul Farmer has dedicated his life to treating people in the poorest nations in the world. He also persuaded the World Health Organization to take a "community-based approach" to healthcare.


Produced by:Diane Namm
A young doctor in Burma begins a medical revolution. Winner of The People's Choice Award.

Discussion Questions | Community-Based Healthcare

1. Paul Farmer convinced the World Health Organization to take a "community-based approach" to healthcare. What does that mean?

2. Based on the health training center depicted in the film Sasa, does community-based approach seem like a good approach?

3. What does Sasa want to accomplish with his training center?

2019 World Health Day Call to Action

Quality health care is good for our health, good for economies and good for society. Let’s call on world leaders to make health for all a reality!

Did you Know?

About 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty (living on $1.90 or less a day) because they have to pay for health care.

Did you know?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is made up of 194 member states, whose health ministers come together every May in Geneva to decide on what health issues they will tackle. 

Did you Know?

At least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services.



Did you Know?

All UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Organizer created on 3/23/2019 10:25:21 PM by MY HERO Staff

Last edited 3/29/2019 2:59:41 PM by Xenia Shin