A YOUNG Zambian Doctor and Global Shaper, Dalal Naeem has been invited to attend and speak at this year’s World Economic Forum, Road to #Davos2020.
He is the second Zambian Global Shaper to attend this forum that takes place annually in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. It is the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year. The theme of the 2020 meeting is ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.’
This year Zambia’s Naeem Dalal, MD, a Doctor and current curator of the Lusaka Global Shapers Hub is set to speak at TIME Magazine’s ‘The Youth Health Mental Crisis’ panel discussion. Dr Dalal will be bringing a Zambian perspective to Davos 2020 to ensure that world leaders continue to focus on mental health and turn their commitments and investment on mental health into action over the next year.
“Time is now for Governments and Civil Society to invest in mental health so that everyone, everywhere has someone to turn to in support of their mental health. In Zambia there are less than eight practicing psychiatrists for a population of 17 million people. If one in 4 people are at risk of having a mental health illness that means roughly 5000 people per psychiatrist per year. There is a huge mental health gap which needs to be actualised. I hope that 2020 is a year when more ideas and intentions become definitive, with respect to Mental Health.” Said Dr Dalal.
He added that he looks forward to working with the World Economic Forum, business/ political leaders, civil society and experts by experience to define and deliver the commitments and investment that will start to tackle the growing mental health crisis in Zambia and world over.
Dr Naeem Dalal is the Founder of “Ganizo”, which aims to redefine mental health disorders by using current trends in neuroscience tailoring to the Zambian culture. Driven by his passion for neuroscience and research, he is a fellow of the International Brain Research Organization and currently implementing mental health services in primary health care. He volunteers at Zambian prisons in strengthening mental health. His mission is to drive a change in mental health from awareness to acceptance. He is part of the Health Quality Improvement community in Zambia and the current curator of the Lusaka hub of the Global shapers community.
At #Davos50 he will be joining nearly 3,000 leaders from 117 countries including 53 Top political leaders. This year over 120 civic-minded young leaders will convene while the forum will welcome 10 leaders under the age of 20 that will represent the viewpoints of younger generations globally.
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US okays electronic cigarettes
WITH rising numbers of smokers in sub-Saharan Africa, concerns regarding risk exposure to tobacco have been well documented. The impact on the entire industry, from farmers to consumers has always been a source of concern: who will support the farmers earning a living through their trade? This could change after a landmark decision in the industry.
Following 43 months of evaluation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorised the marketing of electrically heated tobacco system called IQOS by Philip Morris International (PMI) as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).
This decision by the US FDA marked the first time the agency has granted marketing orders for an electronic alternative to cigarettes. It found IQOS to be “appropriate to promote the public health and is expected to benefit the health of the population as a whole.”
Considering that cigarette smoking kills more than seven million people worldwide each year, the US FDA decision opens a public health opportunity in the fight against the global tobacco epidemic. Encouraging the rapid shift from smoking cigarettes to alternatives such as IQOS – for adult smokers who have been unable or unwilling to quit – could save many lives.
While the FDA does not endorse IQOS, its decision followed a scientific review of more than one million pages of evidence submitted by PMI and took into account independent studies. The federal agency concluded that non-combustible tobacco products such as IQOS differ from cigarettes in reducing the body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.
This is consistent with earlier conclusions of regulatory and scientific bodies, that the product emits lower levels of harmful toxicants than lit cigarettes.
The finding recognizes the harm-reduction effects of the “heat-not-burn” technology, which provides smokers with nicotine, while substantially reducing the risks associated with the combustion of conventional cigarettes.
While rates of smoking have decreased in wealthy countries, they have grown in poorer nations. In sub-Saharan Africa, cigarette consumption increased by over 50 percent between 1980 and 2016. Of deaths among African adults caused by second-hand smoke, over 60 percent are among women who live and work with smokers.
There are lessons to be learned from the decision by the US FDA and similar regulatory bodies in Europe. A dogmatic approach to tobacco control, which condemns all tobacco products as equally injurious to public health, has little chance of reducing the harm of cigarettes in today’s world.
It should lower the cost of reduced risk products and make them available to adult smokers in Africa. Countries should move to include harm reduction in their arsenal of tobacco-control measures and engage the tobacco industry to find the best ways to make the new products widely available to adult smokers unable or unwilling to quit, possibly including raising taxes on conventional cigarettes, while significantly lowering them on reduced risk products;
Across Africa, where the median age is under 25, very strict measures must be put in place to protect under-age youth from gaining access to the new products, considering that they have been shown to be only better alternatives but are not risk free.
In an ideal world, humans would avoid all unnecessary substances that have negative effects on their health. Unfortunately, that is not the case and will likely never be. It will require courage and political will, but it is a public health imperative to adopt measures to reduce risks to the more than one billion smokers worldwide.