End of September, the United Nations General Assembly was held in New York setting its focus on global disease prevention. By 2030, global mortality is to be reduced by 30 percent.
Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Michael Brainin, Head of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Preventive Medicine at Danube University Krems, was invited to the General Assembly of the United Nations as President Elect of the World Stroke Organization (WSO). During hearings and numerous discussions he represented the importance of stroke prevention.
"In order to reduce global mortality, high pressure detection and treatment of stroke, among other things, must be expanded. People need to be educated about possible behavioral risk factors. Tobacco, alcohol, table salt in food and a lack of physical activity - even at an early age - play a major role," says stroke expert Michael Brainin.
Global mortality reduction by 30 percent
The United Nations General Assembly discussed the reduction of non-communicable diseases, which include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obstructive pulmonary disease and obesity. According to an earlier UN resolution, global mortality should be reduced by 30 percent by 2030. At this General Assembly many heads of state came to speak reporting that some countries, although not very many, process the implementation of the programs with a realistic chance of achieving this goal.
Subsequently, the heads of state signed the Political Declaration of the 3rd High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. The declaration’s title is "Time to Deliver: Accelerating our response to address NCDs for the health of well-being of present and future generations".
Time to act
The day before a debate between NGOs and their alliance partners took place at the World Economic Forum New York; whereat the entire conference was held following the motto "Time to Deliver". Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and former mayor of New York, reported in his concise speech that two thirds of all death causes world-wide are due to non-communicable diseases and that only two percent of all health resources, in the so-called low and middle income countries, are spent on prevention. The aim is to develop so-called "smart policies". These can have a significant effect, says Bloomberg, considering that the tobacco and the junk food industry are powerfully represented industries.
Developing strategies against diseases
Every year tobacco-related diseases kill 7 million people. Since the investment of a billion dollars from the Bloomberg Foundation the WHO non-smoking program has covered 120 countries. In India the smoking rate has dropped by 17 percent over the past 8 years. Obesity in Mexico has been reduced by 10 percent through a 10 percent tax on sugary beverages. All these strategies help to reduce the risks of heart disease and strokes. In total, around 18 million people die from these diseases every year. Heads of state and health ministers’ further reports have shown the successes achieved so far.
Taking up the fight
"The networking of various NGOs, government representatives, UN members and WHO officials makes it possible to fight non-communicable diseases. I hope, that the reduction of worldwide mortality will continue to gain speed and effectiveness," says university professor Michael Brainin.
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Brainin