Ms Gini Arnold
Project Manager of the Bloomberg Global Initiative (Tobacco Free Initiative), World Health Organisation
Policy Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy
The diseases of interest to WHO are changing. There is growing recognition that Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) now dominate health care needs in all developed and most developing countries. NCDs – heart diseases, strokes, cancers, diabetes, and chronic lung disease – are now causing an estimated 36 million deaths every year, including 9 million people dying prematurely before the age of 60. Some countries in Africa are now facing the double burden of communicable and non communicable diseases. The global surge in chronic diseases and its impact on healthcare has driven a focus towards prevention – specifically, there has been a focus on effective interventions that tackle the four common risk factors for non communicable diseases, tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.
The Bloomberg Global Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use was established as a consequence of the commitment made by Major Michael Bloomberg of New York City, to donate US$125 million towards ending the global tobacco epidemic. The Bloomberg funds are being used to fund activities to promote freedom from smoking, with special emphasis in fifteen developing countries, where more than two thirds of the world's smokers live. As Project Manager, Gini has led the development of the "MPOWER" package to help low income countries decrease tobacco use:
Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
Protect people from tobacco smoke
Offer help to quit tobacco use
Warn about the danger of tobacco
Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
Raise taxes on tobacco
She is also leading a study of the uses of mobile technology in the public health sector, exploring opportunities for WHO and its partners to use new technology within global tobacco control efforts, and it is this area which provides the focus for her Policy Fellowship visit in June 2011.
For more information on the work of the WHO please follow the link here.