The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reappointed former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg as Global Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries, a statement released yesterday said.
The statement signed by Matthew Myers, President of the Campaign for tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and Global Health Advocacy Incubator praised the appointment saying Bloomberg brings an unparalleled record of accomplishment in saving lives from non-communicable diseases.
Myers said the appointment is even more crucial as more than ever, fighting noncommunicable diseases is crucial to global health. “ NCDs account for over 74% of deaths globally, many of which occur in low- and middle- income countries. Tobacco use – which causes eight million deaths worldwide each year – is the only risk factor shared by all four main categories of NCDs.
“The fight against NCDs is even more critical today as public health authorities, including the WHO, have identified many NCDs – and underlying causes such as smoking – as risk factors for more severe illness from COVID-19,” he said.
Myers said as a Mayor and philanthropist, Bloomberg has made a lifetime commitment to fighting NCD and their underlying causes.
He said: “Both as mayor of New York City and as a philanthropist, Michael Bloomberg has made it a top priority to combat NCDs and their underlying causes, including tobacco use and trans fats. As mayor, he greatly improved the health and life expectancy of New Yorkers through the Smoke Free Air Act, a ban on trans fats and other public health initiatives, inspiring other cities and entire countries to follow suit.
“ Through the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, he has transformed efforts to reduce tobacco use around the world and helped to save countless lives globally. His foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, also promotes policy solutions around the world that reduce rates of NCDs like cardiovascular disease and hypertension as a result of factors such as poor diet, while also supporting road safety and drowning prevention initiatives.
“Michael Bloomberg is uniquely qualified to focus global attention on this public health crisis and serve as a catalyst for life-saving action around the world, and we look forward to partnering with him and the WHO on proven policy solutions to reduce NCDs and save lives,” Myers said in the statement.
Bloomberg has provided support for many organisations especially in developing countries. In Nigeria, through the CTFK, he has provided funding support for organisations working on tobacco control and is instrumental in the passage of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Bill.