Blog

Global Health Checkup: Tobacco Control and Road Safety in Indonesia and the Philippines

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies

Earlier this summer, I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the middle of a drenching monsoon. In this part of the world, monsoons are common and fortunately don’t deter our partners at various government ministries and nonprofits from carrying on their life-saving work. I found the same to be true 1,734 miles (2,784km) away in Manila, Philippines, where two days later, I connected with government and NGO partners from our Road Safety, Tobacco Control, and Data for Health Initiatives.

Though vastly different in many ways, the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines face similar obstacles in both controlling tobacco and making roads safer, so that their citizens can live longer, healthier lives. And there’s a lot we can learn from these countries as they make progress on these critical public health issues.

Follow the Data Podcast: Driving Down Road Traffic Injuries

Without action, road traffic crashes will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. That’s why the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated $259 million over 12 years to implement interventions that have been proven to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015 we began implementing evidence-based interventions in our global network of ten cities, strengthening road safety legislation in five targeted countries, and crash testing new vehicles in four world regions. One of the cities included in the initiative is Fortaleza, Brazil.

Kelly Larson of Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team spoke to two partners about their efforts in Fortaleza and in other cities. Luis Sabóia is the Executive Secretary for the Department of Public Services in Fortaleza – where road traffic deaths dropped 32 percent from 2014 to 2017.

World Obesity Day: Going beyond educational campaigns and voluntary actions

By Dr. Neena Prasad, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Obesity Prevention Program lead

According to the World Health Organization, without intervention, the number of overweight and obese infants and young children globally will increase from 41 million in 2016 to 70 million by 2025—leaving them vulnerable to premature onset of illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. That’s why I was so encouraged to see G20 Health Ministers last week place childhood obesity prevention among their priority issues. Obesity is a public health issue that virtually every country either is—or soon will be—grappling with, and the ensuing health and economic consequences could be catastrophic, particularly for developing countries.

Follow the Data Podcast: Tobacco Industry Watchdogs

For decades, tobacco giants have tried to deceive the public. In addition to aggressively marketing its combustible cigarettes to children and teenagers in low- and middle-income countries, the industry is pushing alternative products, such as heat-not-burn and e-cigarettes, although the evidence about long-term safety is not yet clear. Tobacco industry-funded research has repeatedly been a smokescreen for behavior that has led to worse outcomes for smokers.

Professor Anna Gilmore, director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath spoke to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program lead, Dr. Kelly Henning. They discuss the importance of shedding light on tobacco industry tactics, collaborating with STOP partners, and data’s essential role in the fight against misinformation.

It’s Time to Act: Addressing the Noncommunicable Disease Epidemic

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program lead

For the first time in history, more people are dying of noncommunicable diseases (we call them NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease than infectious diseases. These diseases, which are responsible for 41 million deaths every year, including 17 million people who die prematurely before the age of 70, are responsible for cutting promising lives short around the world. On top of that, 5 million people die every year from injuries, and road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15–29 years.

The STOP Winners: Shining a Spotlight on Big Tobacco

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health team

Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill one billion people this century. It’s the most preventable cause of death in the world. But saving lives means more than just quitting smoking. It means pushing back against a powerful, wide-reaching global industry that spends tens of billions of dollars every single year to recruit tobacco users through aggressive marketing campaigns.

Spreading Solutions: Lessons from the Global Road Safety Leadership Course

By Becky Bavinger, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team

The Global Road Safety Leadership Course – a two-week course organized by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Global Road Safety Partnership – has trained over 300 people from 50 countries since 2016. Held twice each year – once in Baltimore and the other at a rotating location so far including Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and Nairobi, Kenya – the course is part of the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety which focuses on spreading effective road safety solutions and building capacity of municipalities to implement road safety interventions, and supports national governments in strengthening legislation.

Global Health Checkup: Celebrating Progress in Vietnam to Reduce Tobacco Use, Seeking Opportunities to Go Further

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies

An astounding 45 percent of adult males in Vietnam use tobacco, compared to only 1 percent of women. These high smoking rates among men in Vietnam are at the core of the country’s health problems with more than 40,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.

The challenges in Vietnam are difficult, but surmountable. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ deep collaboration with the government and local organizations demonstrates that together we can make real strides toward reducing tobacco use in this country of nearly 100 million people.

Breaking Ground on Safer Roads in Accra, Ghana

By Mayor Adjei Sowah, Accra, Ghana

Last week, my colleagues and I broke ground at the Lapaz intersection. It is the first step in making Accra’s roads safer for all our citizens.

The Lapaz intersection is the most dangerous intersection in the city, poorly designed with limited speed restrictions and no safe passage for pedestrians. In 2015, 25 of the 253 traffic-related fatalities were around the N1 highway, along which the Lapaz intersection sits.

It is cities like Accra, in low- and middle-income countries, that bear the greatest burden of road traffic crashes. The majority of the world’s countries lack adequate laws to counter growing numbers of traffic deaths and injuries. As a result, 90 percent of the 1.3 million deaths on the road every year occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Follow the Data Podcast: Why Data is So Vital to Public Health

This week, we revisit an episode featuring a conversation with Dr. Tom Frieden, one of the world’s leading public health experts, and President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, and Allison Jaffin of Bloomberg Philanthropies as they discuss noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and what it takes to protect the world.