Stimulating Health and Wellness in Global Advertising requires collective voice- Minister Lawrence tells 70th World Health Assembly

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The ability to bring about change in the food industry needs a collective voice in order to go up against a global advertising network. This was highlighted by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence during her recent address to the 70th World Health Assembly.

This year’s theme for the Assembly was “Building Better Systems for Health in the Age of Sustainable Development”.

Lawrence highlighted that in Guyana, the challenges to health are clearly recognised as those related to Non-Communicable Diseases, global health security threats and access by all people to the determinants of good health.

She noted that while the Assembly will facilitate a clear path to good health and wellbeing, the global food, beverage, medical technology and pharmaceutical industries have become so powerful that Small Island and Developing States (SIDS), with limited regulatory and monitoring capacity, cannot effectively impact on the negative effects of the activities of these giants.

As such, she told the Assembly that “our ability to negotiate better solutions for healthy foods and beverages; high quality, effective and safe medicines, and other medical technologies to stimulate the promotion of health and wellness is minuscule as individual SIDS, but is more impactful when voiced together here in this Assembly against the gigantic global advertising network.”

She also called for assessing the impact of climate change on various health risks globally.

The Minister alluded to the increase in extreme weather, flooding and drought with the propagation of insect vectors spurring outbreaks like Chikungunya and Zika.

“More emphasis should also be placed on the research of new treatments and cures, along with the development and production of global stocks and the availability of vaccines and medicines at a reasonable cost,” she pointed out.

Lawrence voiced her belief that collectively, the assembly can motivate global action with the greatest local impact on sustainable development as countries work together and share best practices, innovation and solutions that can enhance the health and wellbeing of all.

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