WHO offers guidance and tools for urban leaders to tackle the leading causes of death in cities

World Health Organization

WHO offers
guidance and tools for urban leaders to tackle the leading causes of death in
cities

New WHO
report to bolster efforts to tackle leading causes of urban deaths

Report launched on World Cities Day offers tools for city leaders to tackle deaths through non-communicable diseases and road traffic injuries.

Geneva 31
October 2019. A new report by the World Health Organization
offers guidance and tools for urban leaders to tackle some of the leading
causes of death in cities.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – like heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes – kill 41 million people worldwide every year, and road traffic crashes kill 1.35 million.

“Over half
the world’s people live in cities, and the numbers are rising,” said Dr Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“City
leaders take decisions that impact on the health of billions, and for cities to
thrive, everyone needs access to services that will improve their health –
public transport, safe, clean and attractive outdoor spaces, healthy food, and,
of course, affordable health services.” The report, titled ‘The Power of
Cities: Tackling Non-Communicable Diseases and Road Traffic Injuries’ is geared
towards mayors, local government officials and city policy planners.

The
report Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies

Funded by
Bloomberg Philanthropies, it highlights key areas where city leaders can tackle
the drivers of NCDs, including tobacco use, air pollution, poor diets and lack
of exercise, and improve road safety.

“By
replicating the most effective measures on a global scale, we can save millions
of lives,” said WHO Global Ambassador for NCDs and injuries, and three-term New
York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

“We’re
working to raise awareness among city leaders and policy makers about the real
gains that can be achieved when effective programs are in place.”

From anti-tobacco
actions in Beijing and Bogor,
to road safety initiatives
in Accra and Bangkok, a bike sharing scheme in Fortaleza, and actions to create
walkable streets for seniors that have reduced elderly pedestrian deaths by 16%
in New York City, the report aims to share knowledge between urban policy
planners.

Of the 19
case studies cited, 15 are from developing countries, where 85% of premature
adult deaths through NCDs take place, and over 90% of road traffic fatalities
are recorded. Over 90% of future urban population growth will be in low or
middle-income countries, and seven of the world’s 10 largest cities are in
developing countries.

The
initiatives cited in the report are similar to those implemented under the
Partnership for Healthy Cities initiative, a joint WHO, Bloomberg
Philanthropies and Vital Strategies initiative that brings over 50 cities
together to share policies and plans on tackling NCDs and injuries.

The network,
led by Mr Bloomberg, has helped ensure 216 million people are covered by at
least one intervention to protect them from NCDs and road traffic injury
since 2017.

Some 193 countries have committed to reducing premature deaths from NCDs by a third by 2030, and halving road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020, through the Sustainable Development Goals.

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