The World Health Organisation has listed climate crises, epidemics and drug resistance as some of the urgent health challenges for the next 10 years. The organisation urged world leaders to invest more resources in core health priorities and systems.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the failure of world leaders to invest adequately in health priorities had put human lives, livelihoods and economies in jeopardy.
“With the deadline for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals quickly approaching, the United Nations General Assembly has underscored that the next 10 years must be the decade of action.
“This means advocating for national funding to address gaps in health systems and health infrastructure, as well as providing support to the most vulnerable countries. “Investing now will save lives and money later. The cost of doing nothing is one we cannot afford,” Ghebreyesus said in the statement. The WHO said it was unfortunate that many countries invest heavily in protecting their citizens from terrorist attacks, but not against the attack of a virus.
“A pandemic could bring economies and nations to their knees, which is why health security cannot be a matter for Ministries of Health alone. We need to realise that health is an investment in the future. ” it said. WHO listed the health challenges as access to medicine, climate crisis, conflict, inequality, infectious diseases, epidemics and harmful products, antibiotic resistance and clean health care.
According to WHO, all the challenges demand a response from more than just the health sector, saying everyone faces shared threats, hence, have a shared responsibility to act.
The organisation noted that the climate crisis was a health crisis, saying air pollution kills an estimated seven million people yearly. It said that climate change causes more extreme weather events, exacerbates malnutrition and fuels the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria.
“The same emissions that cause global warming are responsible for more than one-quarter of deaths from a heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease. “Leaders in both the public and private sectors must work together to clean up our air and mitigate the health impacts of climate change,” it said.
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