Tag Archives: World Health Day

The Secretary-General’s message on World Health Day 2016

World Health Day 2016 Diabetes is an ancient disease that is taking a growing toll on the modern world.  In 1980, 108 million adults were living with diabetes.  By 2014, that number had risen to 422 million – 8.5 per cent of adults — reflecting a global increase in risk factors such as being overweight or obese.  Even though we have the tools to prevent and treat it, diabetes now causes some 1.5 million deaths a year.  High blood glucose causes an additional 2.2 million deaths.

This year, the World Health Organization has issued its first Global Report on Diabetes, outlining the scale of the problem and suggesting ways to reverse current trends.  The burden of diabetes is not equally shared, within or between countries.  People in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected, but wherever we find poverty we also find disease and premature deaths.

Diabetes affects countries’ health systems and economies, through increased medical costs and lost wages.  In 2011, world leaders agreed that non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, represent a major challenge to achieving sustainable development.  Last year, Governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include the target of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one-third.

We can limit the spread and impact of diabetes by promoting and adopting healthier lifestyles, especially among young people.  This includes eating better and being physically active.  We must also improve diabetes diagnosis and access to essential medicines such as insulin.

Governments, health-care providers, people with diabetes, civil society, food producers and manufacturers and suppliers of medicines and technology must all contribute to changing the status quo.

On this World Health Day, let us all commit to working together to halt the rise in diabetes and improve the lives of those living with this dangerous but preventable and treatable disease.

The Secretary-General’s Message on World Health Day

banner-for-WHD2015“From farm to plate: make food safe”

Food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers.  Potential new threats to food safety are emerging all the time.  Changes to the way food is produced, distributed and consumed, the emergence of resistant bacteria, and increases in travel and trade make it difficult to manage pathogens and contaminants once they are in our food supply.

Unsafe food is a largely under-reported and often overlooked global problem.  With the food supply chain stretching around the world, the need to strengthen food safety systems within and among countries is becoming more critical.  That is why, on World Health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on countries and all actors to improve food safety from farm to plate and everywhere in between.

The production of safe food is important for economies – it fosters trade and tourism and supports food security and sustainable development.  Food safety is also important for education – sick children miss school, and it is at school that the next generation of consumers can learn basic food safety practices.

WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) work together to set international standards for safe food.  They assess the safety of new food technologies, and help countries to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks of food-borne disease.  These agencies also help countries build their own capacity to predict and manage food-borne disease risks.

All people involved in the production, distribution, and preparation of food must play their part to make food safe.  Governments must communicate the importance of food safety to their citizens.  The health, agriculture, trade, and environment sectors need to work together.

On World Health Day, let us all ask: how safe is our food?  We all have a role to play in keeping food safe – from farm to plate.