We congratulate Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on his new appointment as the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). And we congratulate WHO for engaging the active support of so dedicated a public health champion.
Having worked with Mike Bloomberg and his team on the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use (BI) over the last ten years, I can attest to his unwavering commitment to this endeavour. A fiercely strategic approach – supporting countries with the highest rates of tobacco use to introduce and implement the most powerful policies for reducing consumption – has made a huge impact on the tobacco epidemic and the disease and poverty it causes. Although much progress has been made, tobacco use is at present the greatest preventable risk factor for NCDs.
In his new role Mr Bloomberg will work to elevate prevention of NCDs and injuries to become international public health priorities. As they must. In 2012, 68 percent of all deaths were due to NCDs and almost three quarters of these occurred in low and middle income countries.
As WHO Global Ambassador, Mr Bloomberg’s ultimate task is to help achieve two UN Sustainable Development Goals: to reduce premature deaths caused by NCDs by one third by 2030; and to halve the number of road deaths and injuries by 2020. These are ambitious goals, and we offer Mr Bloomberg our wholehearted support to achieve them.
From the Executive Director of The Union, José Luis Castro