News / Health

UN Meeting to Address Non-communicable Diseases

UN headquarters in New York (file photo)
UN headquarters in New York (file photo)
Ellen Spolar

Health starts where people live, labor, learn, play and pray, not just what happens to you in the doctor’s office, says Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services. That sentiment will take center stage this month as the United Nations General Assembly convenes in New York City and takes on the number-one killer in the world: Non-Communicable Diseases, or NCDs, including cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The rising tide of NCDs throughout the global community has pushed public health officials to assemble a two-day high-level meeting addressing not only treatment of these illnesses, but more importantly, the outside factors that exacerbate them.

Dr. Koh focuses on the common misconceptions surrounding non-communicable diseases, especially the notion that these chronic illnesses only affect wealthy countries. He outlines the devastating effects these illnesses have on all nations, rich and poor, claiming two-thirds of deaths worldwide. Interestingly, Dr. Koh notes that 80 percent of those deaths occur in middle and low income countries.
While many health policy leaders grasp the colossal impact of NCDs, constructing a plan to prevent them is far more complicated. Dr. Koh discusses in detail tobacco use and its status as the number one global health threat. Dr. Koh expands on the complexities that accompany efforts to prevent tobacco use, namely the capital-rich tobacco industry.
Koh stresses that language regarding the inherent conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health will be included in the upcoming declaration by the United Nations. The Assistant Secretary also discusses time-tested efforts to diminish tobacco use, such as raising both the price of tobacco and awareness of its harmful effects. The swift implementation of these efforts is crucial for nations in Africa and East Asia where tobacco addiction exists at alarming rates. He says that there are more smokers in China than there are people in the United States, a frightening statistic that demonstrates the need for action now.

In addition, the UN high level meeting will tackle the rise of diabetes and obesity, subjects that U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has identified as growing threats to Americans health and well being. As in the case of tobacco use, the fight to curb unhealthy eating habits and excessive alcohol intake will inevitably clash with the powerful food and alcohol industries.
The high-level meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases will mark only the second time in history a health issue has been placed at the forefront of the UN General Assembly, preceded only by the 2001 confab on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other infectious diseases. US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, along with Dr. Koh, leads the US delegation.

For more - listen to Press Conference USA.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid