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The value of local lessons in tackling global killer diseases
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August 18, 2016 - Newsletter

The value of local lessons in tackling global killer diseases

By Michael Bloomberg

The following appeared in the Financial Times on August 17, 2016:

The outbreak of the Zika virus has become an issue of global concern. And rightly so: such communicable diseases must be aggressively tackled to prevent them becoming a pandemic.

But there is another category of diseases that now represent the world’s leading cause of death, killing 43m people each year, including 16m who die before their 70th birthday. Over 80 per cent of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income nations. The diseases and injuries that cause these deaths also cost the world about $7tn between 2011 and 2025. Yet even though most of them are preventable, they receive 2 per cent of the world’s health funding.

So-called non-communicable diseases, or NCDs, include cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke, and chronic respiratory diseases like asthma. Some, like many types of cancer, still do not have a cure. Yet, we have learnt that millions of lives can be saved if individuals, governments and health organisations take relatively low-cost steps to help people quit smoking, eat healthier diets and exercise more regularly.

Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation, is stepping up the fight to prevent these deaths. As part of her push, I have accepted her invitation to serve as the WHO global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases. Our mission is to achieve the UN goals of reducing premature NCD deaths by one-third by 2030, and halving the number of road deaths and injuries by 2020.

Continue reading in the Financial Times
View the WHO press release here
Michael Bloomberg named WHO ambassador
World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan cited Bloomberg’s longtime support for efforts to control tobacco use, improve road safety and prevent drowning in announcing him as Global Ambassador for Non-communicable Diseases. Read More
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