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LEADERS COMMIT TO BEAT NCDS

Heads of state and governments that converged at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Third High-level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have committed to 13 new steps to tackle NCDs including cancers, heart and lung diseases, stroke and diabetes, and to promote mental health and well-being.

A press statement issued by World Health Organization (WHO) states that world leaders agreed to take responsibility themselves for their countries’ effort to prevent and treat NCDs and also agreed that these efforts should include robust laws and fiscal measures to protect people from tobacco, unhealthy foods and other harmful products, thus for instance; restricting alcohol advertising, banning smoking and taxing sugary drinks.

The press release also reveals that the leaders committed to implement a series of WHO recommended policies to prevent and control of NCDs such as public education and awareness campaigns to promote healthier lifestyles, vaccinating against HPV virus to protect against cervical cancer and treating hypertension and diabetes. 

WHO estimates that implementing all these policies could generate around US$ 350 billion in economic growth in low and lower-middle-income countries between now and 2030. 

Other specific commitments focus on curbing the rise of childhood obesity, promoting regular physical activity, reducing air pollution and improving mental health and wellbeing.

The political declaration is on the other hand said to be reaffirming WHO’s global leadership of the fight to beat NCDs and promote mental health, while it urges the Organization to continue working closely with key partners, including government, civil society and the private sector.

“In particular, it calls on food manufacturers to take several actions. These include reformulating products to reduce salt, free sugars and saturated and industrially produced Trans fats, using nutrition labelling on packaged food to inform consumers, and restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children,” reads the press statement.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister and his delegation also attended the UN General Assembly.

 

Source: LENA 29/09/2018

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