World Health Organisation calls for global drive to curb lifestyle diseases
December 10, 2019 | 10:51 PM
by Times News Service
Photo - Shutterstock

Muscat: The World Health Organisation has called on countries to do more to tackle lifestyle diseases and provide better mental health services so that current and future generations can live long and healthy lives.

Providing all people affordable, good quality healthcare and decent living standards is one of the goals the United Nations has set up as part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, all of which centre around fair work, decent living, quality education, respect for all, clean energy, and environmental sustainability.

“We are all heading (towards SDGs) and we are all talking and we all hope to achieve the health-related SDGs by 2030,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, the WHO Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

“To me, it is very important, that in order to achieve that sort of goals, we tackle NCDs and mental health in a very serious way. Otherwise, we will not be able to reach that goal.

We have very little time, and 10 years will pass very quickly.” Al Mandhari was speaking at the ongoing WHO conference in Oman, which is called the Global Meeting to Accelerate Progress on SDG Target 3.4 on Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health.

The WHO’s Global Meeting to Accelerate Progress on SDG Target 3.4 on Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health conference is being held in Oman. Photo: Supplied

The motto of the conference is ‘rapid progress and quick results in addressing NCDs are possible’. SDG 3.4 aims to reduce premature mortality that occurs through non-communicable diseases by one-third, through prevention and treatment, as well as the promotion of mental health.

“We will all get older in 2030, but we are all waiting for that day when we will celebrate the successes, which I have no doubt will be implemented, god willing,” he added.

“When it comes to rapid progress, I know that some of you will be very sceptical about that, and I understand why. We live in a very diverse, dynamic and challenging world, and we have the things I’ve just mentioned available in the eastern Mediterranean region. “Nonetheless, I believe we can achieve radical advances, if we work together, and the WHO has a vision for this region,” explained Al Mandhari.

“We call it ‘Health For all By All’ and it reflects my conviction that health is too important to be the responsibility of health professionals alone.

We need everyone to work together, mobilise international and domestic resources, utilise them efficiently, and focus on providing person-centred care across the whole continuum of the healthcare system, starting with promotion, prevention, management, rehabilitation and ending up with recovery, to transform public health, and to make a real transformation.”

The meeting runs from December 9 to 12, 2019, and brings together ministers of health, agriculture, environment, education, finance, foreign affairs, planning, and trade and development, as well as public policy makers, UN organisations, global experts and advocates, and non-state bodies. “People are counting on us,” added Al Mandhari.

“World leaders have promised health and wellbeing for all at all ages, with no one left behind, so we are accountable for making a difference in the lives of billions.

This is what I want to share. Let us work together, let us bring hope to future generations, let us fulfil our expectations, our demands, our mandates, our responsibilities that our communities and our citizens have put on our shoulders. I am sure that working together, we will succeed together.” Also in attendance was Dr Svetlana Axelrod, the director of global NCD platforms at the WHO, who praised Oman’s efforts towards achieving this SDG, and called on others to do the same. “We acknowledge the example of strategic leadership and political commitment that Oman is showing to beat NCDs,” she said.

“We are at an exciting moment in global health. On the heels of the political declaration on NCDs and quality health services, and the recently-launched report on global action for healthy lives and wellbeing for all, we have the opportunity to transform the health of people globally.”

“There has never before been such a level of political commitment, nor global cooperation among the global healthcare community, and we have committed to working closely towards supporting countries accelerate progress towards the health-related sustainable goals,” added Axelrod.

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