Million’s Health, a UN Summit Priority

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Many world leaders will come together with the purpose of holding a landmark summit on health. This summit will include debates on the fact that tens of millions are dying each year, as well as the fact that countries put in a lot of cost and responsibility for the occurrence of these diseases.

The UN General Assembly week in New York will tackle, among others, the wrath of these NCDs (Non-Communicable Diseases). NCDs include heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc which kill more than 36 people annually. This summit will be attended by 35 heads of states and governments, as well as fifty other foreign ministers and health. The two-day meeting will involve a deep discussion of the steps which will push governments to employ preventive measures for these diseases.

Many experts say that these non-communicable diseases are more rampant in Asia, Africa and Middle East. They also say that poorer countries or developing countries suffer the most from the effects of these NCDs. Statistically, it is measured that 80% of the deaths from NCDs are from these developing countries.

The UN states “recognize that the most prominent NCDs are linked to common risk factors, namely tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, and unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity.” According to UN’s final statements, more helps should be targeted towards the developing countries. They have referred to non-communicable diseases as “one of the major challenges for development in the 21st century”.

“Poor populations and those living in vulnerable situations, in particular in developing countries bear a disproportionate burden.”

According to the President of the NCD Alliance, Anne Keeling, the NCDs have now reached an epidemic level and should alarm countries and challenge them to push further measures to prevent and treat these conditions. NCD Alliance is a group of about 2,000 health organizations in the world which focus on information, prevention and treatment of these NCDs.

Keeling, who also happens to be the Chief Executive of the International Diabetes Federation, mentioned that concurrently, there are 344 million people suffering from diabetes and within a generation, it would not be a surprise to exceed the 500 million mark.

The world summit recognizes that prevention must lay the groundwork for international efforts. Health experts around the world emphasize that leaders from different countries must exert tougher and stricter measures to address this concerning issue.

Meanwhile, to help attain the goals of the summit, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food shares that “Voluntary guidelines are not enough. World leaders must not bow to industry pressure.”

“It is crucial for world leaders to counter food industry efforts to sell unbalanced processed products and ready-to-serve meals too rich in transfats and saturated fats, salt and sugars,” he further added.

Another pressing concern is the amount of aid given for the countries battling NCDs. It is said that the aid given is less than 3% of the development aid—a lot less than the amount given for communicable diseases.




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