Michael R. Bloomberg has been reappointed as the WHO’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries.
A recent Gallup poll found universal support for the WHO report’s suggested remedies to the increasing public health burden of noncommunicable diseases.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, recently presented a new report asking world governments to act rapidly against noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which cause 17 million unnecessary deaths each year.
In order to inspire action, Dr. Tedros extended Michael R. Bloomberg’s two-year tenure as the WHO’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. Bloomberg has previously been reappointed three times since being appointed to the role for the first time in 2016.
The declaration was issued during the inaugural annual meeting of the Heads of State and Government Group for the Prevention of NCDs, which was hosted during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and led by Ghana’s President and Norway’s Prime Minister . (UNGA). This comes after Ghana and Norway announced earlier this year the formation of a Global NCD Compact.
To honor the occasion, WHO released a new research titled “Invisible Numbers: The Actual Extent of Noncommunicable Diseases” as well as a web portal that aggregates all WHO statistics on NCDs for 194 countries for the first time. The research and website show the global severity of the burden of NCDs, risk factors, and the progress each country is making in combating these illnesses and afflictions. Every two seconds, someone under the age of 70 dies from an NCD somewhere in the world. Noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and lung disease, have surpassed infectious diseases as the major causes of mortality globally.
According to Dr. Tedros, this study highlights the entire breadth of the threat posed by NCDs and related risk factors. “Every country, whatever of its economic status, can and should employ and benefit from cost-effective and universally applicable NCD therapies that can save lives and money.” I applaud Michael Bloomberg, Prime Minister Stre, and President Afuko-leadership Addo for their efforts to address this crucial global health issue.
Bloomberg’s reappointment comes at a critical juncture in public health. People with NCDs fared worse than those without during the COVID-19 outbreak. Gallup today released a new survey commissioned by the WHO and Bloomberg Philanthropies, which found that the majority of respondents in five of the countries surveyed—Columbia, India, Jordan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the United States—rank an NCD or NCD risk factor as their country’s most serious health issue.
There is a lack of public understanding of the links between NCDs and risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, poor eating habits, and inactivity. However, the majority of individuals questioned across all countries think that a variety of tried-and-true approaches, such as including more green space in urban health design and increasing cigarette taxes, may reduce the number of people dying from NCDs.
Noncommunicable diseases are a major risk factor in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, and we have seen how critical it is to address this risk as we respond to this pandemic and prepare for the next, said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. Noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease are the world’s biggest silent killers, although they may often be prevented by applying tried-and-true, low-cost remedies. I am delighted to continue making life-saving investments in NCD and injury prevention alongside Dr. Tedros and the WHO.
As WHO Global Ambassador, Bloomberg will continue to encourage international, governmental, and local initiatives to protect people from NCDs and injuries. This study also advances the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.4, which calls for a one-third decrease in the global death toll from NCDs through the adoption of high-impact, population-level policies and programmes in cities throughout the world.
NCDs account for about 75% of all deaths worldwide. Low- and middle-income countries account for 86 percent of the 17 million people under the age of 70 who die each year from NCDs. The COVID-19 pandemic raised the burden of NCDs by delaying and discontinuing care. During the early stages of the pandemic, 75% of countries reported that key NCD services had been disrupted owing to lockdown restrictions and resource channeling. Despite the fact that this objective might save millions of lives, few countries are currently on track to fulfill the United Nations’ target of reducing the premature death rate from NCDs by one-third by 2030. Urgent global measures are needed to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals and reduce NCD-related early death.