CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has appealed to global health leaders to emphasise the importance of womenâ€™s health.
Mrs Lungu said when women are helped to lead healthy lives, they will lift up all of society.
â€œReduce health inequities by addressing non-communicable disease prevention (NCDs) for women in lower and middle-income countries. That is indeed the urgent need today as the world begins to implement the new sustainable development goals [SDG],â€ Mrs Lungu said.
The First Lady said this yesterday when she was among the speakers at the leading health organisations global action to improve women-centred NCDs.
The global health leaders yesterday declared that United Nationsâ€™ new SDGs must enable the prevention, control and management of NCDs for women and girls to reach their full potential.
â€œWe believe engaging women can help solve this challenge because women often direct their familiesâ€™ choices towards healthy living,â€ said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of American Heart Association and co-chair of the taskforce.
She said women have the capacity to make a generational impact that will save lives.
NCDs, which predominately include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic lung disease, represent the defining global health crisis of our generation.
According to a World Health Organisation report, NCDs kill 18 million women each year and represent the leading cause of deaths world-wide.
â€œThere is also increasing recognition that maternal and new-born health outcomes are linked to NCDs, including hypertension, obesity and diabetes.
â€œWe want to create a world that values and promotes every womanâ€™s health throughout her life, and helps her prevent NCDs for herself and her entire family,â€ Ms Brown said.
Senior advisor to UN Women Gustavo Gonzalez-Canali said â€œData from the Arogya World report shows that 25 percent of women spend 25 percent of their family income on NCDsâ€.Dr Gonzalez-Canali said It is critical that every effort is taken to prevent the occurrence of NCDs and help women and countries effectively manage the staggering costs of NCD treatment.
She said universal health coverage and innovative financing mechanisms are a must for the new SDGs to gain traction.
NCDs are among the greatest health and development challenges of the century. Two out of three deaths are caused by NCDs, 80 percent in the developing world.
CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka