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Non communicable diseases make poverty even worse, Uruguayan president tells UN

Wednesday, September 21st 2016 - 09:37 UTC
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These diseases are related to four risk factors of modern lifestyle: smoking, alcoholism, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle, said President Tabaré Vázquez These diseases are related to four risk factors of modern lifestyle: smoking, alcoholism, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle, said President Tabaré Vázquez

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez on Tuesday warned against non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular ailments, cancer, diabetes and chronic pulmonary pathologies, which he said are the main causes of death particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

 “These diseases, to a great extent, result from four risk factors directly related to supposedly typical behaviours of modern lifestyle: smoking, alcoholism, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle,” said President Tabaré Vázquez, who came into the political circle from the medical profession.

According to available data, he said, 104,109 individuals will die today as a consequence of non-communicable diseases highly related to the risk factors.

“This is not a medical panel or a scientific symposium” but he must tell that it is not only possible to design and implement tobacco control and other effective strategies, but also achieve positive results.

“Vicious circles are easily formed in these populations: poverty exposes people to behavioural risk factors of non-communicable diseases and in turn, these diseases tend to make poverty even worse,” he said.

He warned that unless the epidemics of non-communicable diseases are strongly fought against, the global goal of poverty reduction – an indispensable condition for sustainable development – will move farther away every day, he said, citing the direct cost of smoking on Latin-American health systems at US$33 billion, and the economic cost of cancer in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South Americas at US$286 billion.

Uruguay is a world leader in the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, he said.

However, he added, there have been immense challenges, such as a claim brought by Phillip Morris against his country’s regulations to control smoking. In a final settlement decision, the policies adopted by Uruguay were recognized as sovereign, legitimate and respectful of the international commitments undertaken by the country and of international law, he said.

That company’s “main reason was to punish a small country which has decided to control tobacco consumption” as a warning to all. The best way to move forward is to invite all countries to implement Framework Convention with “no fear of threats or retaliations from powerful tobacco companies.”

Turning to other issues, he commended Colombia for having reached a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), and urged the lifting of the embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba.

Underlining the essential need for everyone to adhere to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said the Paris Agreement on climate change had been the first step taken by States to demonstrate their commitment to reducing emissions and diminishing global temperatures.

He welcomed the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants adopted on Monday by UN Member States, and said that Uruguay would remain committed to UN peacekeeping, adding that it would continue to contribute thousands of personnel to operations.

Top Comments

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  • ChrisR

    So Vasquez wanted to lecture the world on health?

    This from a President of a country where the vast majority cook their daily meat on a 'log fuelled', brick built barbeque (or a cut out oil barrel) whilst they breath in all the smoke of the burning wood and fats which of course is loaded with carcinogens.

    Vasquez is a dollar millionaire from his private oncology clinic and knows this full well. So what does he do to change it? Absolutely nothing.

    Lung cancer tgw bowel cancers are the biggest killer in UYU. Our next door neighbour (F) and the one just over the road from us (M) both died with colon cancer last year.

    I also have two friend suffering lung cancer.


    Sep 21st, 2016 - 11:44 am 0
  • Kanye

    Were they cooking on oil barrels too?

    Are the cancers as high in the middle class ?

    Sep 21st, 2016 - 02:24 pm 0
  • Marti Llazo

    Uruguay has made tremendous progress in reducing poverty by providing the means for keeping much of the otherwise potentially productive population permanently stoned on cheap, plentiful, and legal marijuana.

    Sep 21st, 2016 - 06:51 pm 0
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