Acclaimed American actor Morgan Freeman highlighted the need for equal access to health and education for all in an inspiring address on the second day of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2020.
“Early childhood education is linked to health and that is why I am speaking to a global gathering of health experts. One thing I have learned and one thing we all have learned is, health is education. Education is health and you can’t untangle the two and can’t solve one without the other,” said Freeman in his keynote speech.
Freeman focused on the importance of equal access to health and education for all, especially by solving the connected challenges of early childhood education, climate change, and conflict.
“No matter your background, no matter your start in life, no matter whether you grew up on the Tallahatchie River or the River Ganges, you deserve access to good education and access to quality healthcare. That’s why I’m so honoured to be part of WISH 2020 – an event that promotes that belief,” noted, Freeman.
Freeman said, “One silver lining of 2020 is that it has reminded us of our connection to one another. Not as citizens of any tribe or country but as human beings. We are all in this together.”
He emphasised the fact that climate change is real. “Kids are missing schools in various parts of the world because the world has not reckoned yet with the Mother Nature’s warnings. The earth is gasping for breath and so too are the children who are affected by poor air quality. No child should grow up destined to lifelong ill health on a sick planet.
“We have more children today living in refugee camps or living in conflict areas or post conflict zones than any time since the end of World War II,” he lamented.
The renowned actor highlighted that early childhood education programmes can improve children’s chances of success and even their ability to fight diseases.
Quoting Nelson Mandela, he said, “health can’t be a matter of income, it is a fundamental right. You deserve access to good education and access to quality healthcare. We are seeing threats to our health alongside existential threat to our planet.”
“Scientists tell us that living under such conditions can create toxic stress among children and it can lead to lifelong problems in learning. It can lead to diabetes, heart diseases and depression in adulthood. How we face all these challenges of education, health, climate change matters. Today’s children should not grow up unsure of the world tomorrow. We should have the resources to sustain them. They shouldn’t be absorbing the anxieties of a world battling a cruel pandemic,” he continued.
Freeman said there was still a chance to set things right. “By reducing the consumption of the resources on our planet, we can reduce the climate change impacts and there is still hope to save the planet. If we give the children the right foundation to live healthy, they can live and thrive in this world. This will make sure that their children will live healthy life. This has been a year of great difficulty but right across the world we have seen acts of great courage, compassion and collaboration. If we keep working together, we will heal the one word, our health,” concluded Freeman.