Hollywood star delivers keynote speech during virtual summit by QF’s global healthcare initiative
Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman highlighted how education and healthcare are inextricably linked in his keynote speech on the second day of the virtual World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2020, and urged communities to work together to tackle global challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic, to create a healthier world.
Health is connected to every other issue, in the way that sinew connects muscle to bone
“Health is connected to every other issue, in the way that sinew connects muscle to bone,” Freeman said. “Health is education, and education is health. You can’t untangle the two, and you can’t solve one without the other. Healthier kids learn more, well-educated kids live longer, healthier lives.
“It doesn’t matter where you grew up; you deserve good access to education and access to quality healthcare.”
Freeman also emphasized the importance of tackling climate change, which is threatening the future of the planet, saying: “We are seeing threats to our health, alongside existential threats to our planet.
“Climate change is real. Extreme weather is ravaging our community and closing schools. Kids are missing days of education because the world hasn’t reckoned yet with Mother Nature’s warnings.
“The earth is gasping for breath, and so too are the children whose illnesses are linked to poor air quality. No child should grow up destined to lifelong ill health on a sick planet because the generation before them didn’t know when to stop overconsuming.”
“Today’s children shouldn’t grow up unsure if the world of tomorrow will have the natural resources to sustain them. They shouldn’t be absorbing the anxieties of a world battling a cruel pandemic. Right now we have the chance to reset. To salvage something from a year of trauma. If we take responsibility for climate change by reducing our levels of consumption, there’s still hope that we can save the planet.”
This has been an extremely challenging year, but right across the world we have been witness to great courage, cooperation, and compassion
Freeman, speaking from the US, emphasized the importance of tackling the pandemic together, and how this year’s WISH – being held in the digital sphere for the first time – is so important to today’s world.
“If we trust in science rather than fake news, and if we put our trust in the healthcare community, we will get through the current pandemic,” he said.
“This has been an extremely challenging year, but right across the world we have been witness to great courage, cooperation, and compassion. If we keep working together, we will heal.
“This has been a hard year for so many. More than 50 million people around the world have been infected with COVID-19. More than one million lives lost forever. Families hurt. Economies disrupted. That’s why WISH 2020 is not just the latest in a series of summits focused on health, innovation, and collaborating to build a healthier world. It’s the most important one yet. And it’s also the biggest one yet. Because hosting it virtually has allowed us to include so many frontline health workers.
“If there is one silver lining of 2020, it reminded us of our connection to one another. Not as citizens of any one tribe or country, but as human beings. We’re all in this together.”