Healthy eating. From January 24 to February 1, the 144th Executive Board Meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) was held in Geneva, where the main global health challenges for 2019 as defined by the organization were discussed. Among the main challenges on which WHO’s work will focus this year are Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) as a consequence of unhealthy diets, drug resistance due to excessive use of antibiotics in food production, and air pollution. The formal presentation of WHO’s priority objectives will mark the beginning of a process of developing joint actions during the 72nd World Health Assembly, to be held from 20-28 May 2019.
2019 marks the start of the World Health Organization’s new five-year strategic plan, under which it aims to allocate three billion dollars to ensure the access of 1 billion people to better health and welfare. In this context, the organization has identified a series of priority health challenges that will require joint working between WHO and member countries. Among the threats identified, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) stand out, responsible as they are, according to the organization, for more than 70% of annual deaths worldwide. The WHO maintains that the main global risk factors are unhealthy diets, tobacco and alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyles and environmental pollution.
Another topic discussed during the February meeting was the increasing antimicrobial resistance that diminishes the success of antibiotics, antivirals and more complex health procedures such as chemotherapy. WHO maintains that this resistance is driven by the excessive use of antibiotics in animals, especially those used for food production. On this point, they announced that they are already working on a global action plan to promote the prudent use of antimicrobials. The 2019 agenda will also be marked by the strengthening of international action against air pollution, which affects the health of populations in low- and middle-income countries.
As part of the implementation of its strategic plan and the main global challenges defined by WHO, the organization will work on a series of recommendations and guidelines for adoption by member countries. In addition, these priorities are to be addressed during the next World Health Assembly, which will begin May 20, 2019. The objective is to agree on a series of common actions among member states. WHO member countries are expected to renew their commitment to developing national policies to ensure the health of their populations.