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The “new tobacco” harming to more than billion of people- WHO

 The top 10 threats to global health

Every year millions of people die due to severe diseases worldwide. And billions of people have been suffering from different types of diseases which spread due to various factors.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released the list of top 10 global health threats for 2019, ranging from vaccine-preventable diseases to drug-resistant infection, from obesity and physical inactivity to cancer and environmental diseases like heart and lungs problems. 
According to the WHO, immediate attention is needed to address these threats which put the millions of lives are at risk.

Diseases Which WHO put on Global Health Risk are caused by-

1-     Air pollution and climate change
2-    No communicable disease
3-    Global influenza pandemic
4-    Fragile and vulnerable settings
5-    Antimicrobial resistance
6-    Ebola and other high-threats pathogens
7-     Weak primary health care
8-    Vaccine hesitancy
9-    Dengue and  HIV

Air pollution and Climate Change

Breathing in polluted air is costing the world 7 million lives every year and causing harm to more than a billion people.
 Air pollution is termed the “new tobacco” and as “a silent public health emergency”. High air pollution has been linked to a host of health problems, from an increased risk of dementia to asthma and even changes in the structure of the heart, with recent research suggesting there is no “safe level” of air pollution.

The world has turned the corner on tobacco. Now it must do the same for ‘new tobacco’ – the toxic air that billions breathe every day. No one rich or poor can escape air pollution.

A WHO report on non-communicable disease (NCDs) in the world.

Billions of people around the world are affected by non-communicable diseases, and at all stages of the life course, from childhood to old age. The growing trend of population aging gas enormous ramification for the prevention and management of NCDs.

Responsible for 41 million or 71 percent deaths globally, these include problems like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and mental health challenges.
One of the primary challenges to overcome is reducing premature deaths alcohol and tobacco usage, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets in this fights against NCDs, says the report.

According to the report that some other challenges the execution healthier practices face include not just lack of political support, but also the implementation of the norms that are decided upon. Legislation, enforcing standards and acquiring enough investment are all hurdles to overcome.

Global Influenza Pandemic

The WHO predicts an influenza pandemic but is unsure when and how the epidemic will hit the global population. The various influenza viruses are being constantly monitored to detect any signs of a pandemic.

Every year, the WHO suggests which strains of the virus must be included in the flu vaccine so as to protect the population from the seasonal flu.

For the year 2019, the WHO has set up a ‘unique partnership with all the major players to ensure effective and equitable access to diagnostics, vaccines and antiviral (treatment), especially in developing countries.

Fragile and vulnerable settings

WHO notes that fragile settings exist in almost all regions of the world, and half of the key targets in the sustainable development goals, including on child and maternal health, remains unmet.

Antimicrobial resistance

India is perhaps the worst abuser of antibiotics in the world. According to the latest paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), the use of antibiotics in India went up 103% between the year 2000 and 2015. All this, when multi drug resistance bacteria is in India hospitals, environment and is spreading.

Ebola and other high-threats pathogens

In November 2018, the WHO named Congo’s deadly Ebola outbreak as the second largest in history, only behind the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed thousands a few years ago.

The WHO emergencies chief,  called it “a sad toll”, as Congo’s health ministry announced the number of cases has reached 426. That included 379 confirmed cases and 47 probable ones.

Earlier in May 2018, the WHO declared Congo as facing a ‘very high’ public health risk from Ebola, raising its assessment from ‘high’ previously.

The WHO has prepared a list of dangerous pathogens which have the potential to cause a public health emergency.

 Weak primary health care

As per a report in India spend, public health experts believe that has to move from vertical to comprehensive programmes, improve quality and access, hire more mid-level health workers and increase funding to improve primary care for achieving universal health coverage.

The health is not “merely the absence of disease or infirmity”, but “is a fundamental human right” was proclaimed 40 years ago in ALMA-ATA DECLARATION in Kazakhstan in 1978. On 25 and 26 October 2018, the declaration was reiterated by 197 countries around the world as they signed the Declaration of Astana that vowed to strengthen primary healthcare as an essential step for achieving universal health coverage.

WHO plans to work with partners to ‘revitalize and strengthen primary health care in countries, and follow up on specific commitments made by in the Astana Declaration?

Vaccine Hesitancy

The hesitancy or refusal to take vaccines or get vaccinated is often termed as ‘vasccine hesitancy; WHO states that ‘Vaccination s one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease it currently prevents 2-3 million death a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved’

In America, the eastern Mediterranean region, and Europe experienced the greatest upsurges in measles cases in the year 2017  with an estimated 1,10,000 deaths related to the disease across the globe, according to a new report by WHO.

The report suggested that the spike in measles cases occurred owing to gaps in vaccination coverage.


The WHO reported that about half of the world’s population was at risk of getting infected by dengue, which caused 50 to 100 million infections per year worldwide.

Dengue fever, which is caused primarily by a virus, gets transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito.


A report by UNICEF released in December 2018 gave a reality check on how far the world was from fulfilling its pledge of ending AIDS by 2030. While commending the remarkable progress made in the past decade among children aged 0-9 years, the report shed light on the lack of efforts to prevent HIV among adolescents.

About 360,000 adolescents were projected to die of AIDS-related diseases between 2018 and 2030 without additional investment in HIV prevention, testing and treatment programs.

270,000 children and adolescents were projected to become newly infected with the virus annually in the year 2030. 56,000 children and adolescents were projected to die from AIDS-related cause annually. 2.0 million new HIV infections could be averted between 2018 and 2030 if global goals were more than – 1.5 millions of these could be averted among adolescents.

WHO’s new 5-year strategic plan

The 13th general programme of work, aims to address these and other threats, the UN’s health agency said its plan focuses on a triple billion target that includes ensuring 1 billion more people get benefit from access to universal health coverage, 1 billion people being protected from health emergencies and 1 billion more people enjoy better health and well-being.