Panorama of Events
WHO World Health Assembly – Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol
By Geneva News Group (Originally in English)
[Geneva] The World Health Organization (WHO) held its annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 17 to 21, Golden Year 7 (2010). The World Health Assembly is the WHO decision-making body and is attended by delegations from all its 193 member states. Every year, it focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. This year, the Health Assembly discussed a number of public health issues, including strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and counterfeit medical products.
Alcohol kills 2.5 million people each year, including 320,000 between the ages of 15 and 29. Harmful drinking is a high-risk factor for cardio-vascular diseases, cirrhoses of the liver and a variety of cancers. It is also associated with infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and TB, and is highly correlated with vehicle accidents, violence and suicides.
All the delegations agreed on a resolution to confront the harmful usage of alcohol which contributes to poor health worldwide, devastates families, and damages communities. WHO Assistant Director General Dr. Ala Alwan stated, “The resolution and the strategy set priority areas for global action, providing guidance to countries and giving a strong mandate to WHO to strengthen action on all levels for reducing the harmful use of alcohol.”
Effective governance and determined action by all nations involved will ensure the successful implementation of the plan. As WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan noted in her address to the Health Assembly, “The strategy sends a powerful message: countries are willing to work together to take a tough stand against the harmful use of alcohol.” WHO will support countries in carrying out the proposal and will monitor progress at national and global levels.
Our Association members from Geneva Center had the opportunity to meet and speak with officials, representatives and delegations of different countries. In the process they gave them flyers, documents and DVDs about the urgency of a worldwide change to a healthier lifestyle that includes adopting a vegan diet, which were accepted with great interest.