Brazzaville

Evolve or Die

A resounding silence surrounds an event to take place at the end of this month that, in theory at least, has great significance for the health of the people of Africa. Dr Ebrahim Samba is to step down after serving his maximum two terms of office as Director of WHO's Africa Region (WHO/AFRO). A new leader for WHO's governing body in the African region must therefore be nominated when the Regional Committee meets in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, between Aug 31 and Sept 3.

WHO Challenges Africa to Combat Chronic Diseases

African governments have been urged to come up with policies to combat increasing cases of chronic diseases. A World Health Organisation (WHO) director in Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa, said scientific evidence had shown that millions of people throughout the world were dying from cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancers and respiratory infections. Dr Mohamed Belhocine, was addressing journalists at a news conference at a Harare hotel to mark the end of a three-day WHO workshop on global strategy on diet, physical activity and health. [Leon H. Sullivan Summit] He said: There is scientific evidence that with moderate physical activity and a slight change in dietary habits, 60 percent of new cases would be avoided. He said reducing the cases of chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol, did not necessarily depend on the availability of resources. These could be averted by just being responsible with one's health. According to a WHO fact sheet, chronic diseases accounted for 59 percent of the 56,5 million deaths annually and 45,9 percent of the global burden of diseases. (Source: Harare, The Daily News 25 March, 2003).