Bloomberg Becomes WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases

NCDs include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. Together with injuries, they are responsible for 43 million deaths each year, or almost 80 percent of all deaths worldwide.

The World Health Organization named Michael Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of the New York City, as Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases on Aug. 17. Bloomberg has been working with WHO on tobacco control and injury prevention for the past decade.

"Michael Bloomberg is a valued partner and has a long track record of supporting WHO in the areas of tobacco control, improving data for health, road safety, and drowning prevention," said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general. "I am therefore absolutely delighted to be able to appoint him as Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. This will enable us to strengthen our response together to the major public health challenges of NCDs and injuries."

NCDs include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. Together with injuries, they are responsible for 43 million deaths each year, or almost 80 percent of all deaths worldwide. Each year, 16 million people die from NCDs before the age of 70, with road traffic crashes accounting for a further 1.25 million deaths each year and being the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29.

Bloomberg will work with national and local political leaders worldwide on strategies to reduce the burden of NCDs and injuries and will help WHO in supporting the attainment of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. "I am honored to become WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and excited about the possibilities that are within our reach. Cities and countries around the world are making great progress reducing preventable, premature deaths and, by replicating the most effective measures on a global scale, we can save many millions of lives," he said. "Together with WHO, we'll support low- and middle-income countries as they work to achieve their policy goals and direct resources in ways that will best improve public health. We'll also work to raise awareness among leaders and policy makers at the local level about the real gains that can be achieved when effective programs are in place."

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