'We must tackle the causes of urban deaths'

'We must tackle the causes of urban deaths'
© Belga

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week called on governments to take a firm grip on the causes of death in towns and cities, where two thirds of the world's population will be living by 2050.

Non-transmissible illnesses like heart attacks, cerebrovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes and road accidents that kill a total of 42 million people each year.

Heart attacks and road accidents are especially being targeted by the organisation.

The United Nations recommends tackling the two severest threats with a ten-point plan.

"More than half the world's population lives in cities and the number is rising," the director of the NGO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, explained in a press release.

"For towns to prosper, it is necessary for everyone to have access to services that improve health - public transport, safe, clean and attractive outdoor areas, healthy food and, of course, affordable health services."

The report published by the NGO points to key areas in which those with responsibility for town planning can improve road safety and lessen the causes of illness.

It is a question notably of smoking, air pollution, poor diet and lack of physical activity.

The recommendations are inspired by straightforward policies originating in towns across the globe, such as the measures to cut smoking in Bogor and Indonesia, road safety initiatives in Accra and Ghana, or efforts made by the city of New York to create safe streets for the elderly.

"By reproducing the most effective measures on a world scale, we can save millions of lives," the former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, who is lending his support and is now an ambassador for the NGO, declared.

The Brussels Times

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