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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More