This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/air-pollution-obesity-vaccine-hesitancy-climb-list-global-health/
Air pollution, obesity and vaccine hesitancy are three of the global health threats the World Health Organization has pledged to make a priority in 2019.
In a belated set of new year resolutions WHO has listed the 10 greatest health threats the world faces and sets out how it will tackle them over the next 12 months.
The list is a sign that global health is changing and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer and environmental threats pose just as great a risk as infectious diseases such as Ebola and HIV. And that health threats can come from any quarter.
Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in the United States, said that the list was a good overview of the threats to the world’s health.
“Having a list like this helps to drive research and innovation and it’s a way of conceptualising something that’s complex. Often diseases can get blown out of proportion and people need to understand what the true risks are,” he said.
He added that the inclusion of “vaccine hesitancy” or scepticism was important.
“If you’d done that list 100 years ago it would have been all infectious diseases. The reasons why it’s not is because of vaccines. People didn’t have the luxury of dying from diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Vaccines are probably one of the greatest technologies to have impacted on human health,” he said.
A WHO spokesman said: “These issues were included for various reasons – some are diseases we have made significant progress with, such as HIV, yet they remain significant health threats – HIV still kills one million people a year. Others, such as dengue, are seeing transmission periods lengthening and some countries like Bangladesh are seeing more dengue deaths than they have in years.
Air pollution and climate change
Top of the list is action on air pollution and climate change, a growing crisis as WHO estimates that around nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air every day.