Asbestos refers to a group of naturally occurring minerals with fibrous structures, used in construction work and other industries. In 1972, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded that lung cancer and mesotheliomas were induced in laboratory animals when asbestos was injected or inhaled. Fifteen years later, the same group classified asbestos as IARC Group 1, carcinogenic to humans. Recent estimates suggest that each year asbestos-related diseases accounted for 41,000 lung cancer deaths, 43,000- 59,000 cases of mesothelioma, and 7,000-24,000 cases of asbestosis. These numbers are expected to increase in the future, given the latency period between exposure and symptoms. This is a renewed call for global action to ban asbestos, in order to avoid further exposure and consecutive morbidities and deaths.

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The WFPHA commends the Public Health Association of Israel and in general the public health community, human rights NGOs and civic society for providing emergency and medical assistance to people in need, regardless of their nationality, and for its ongoing efforts to ensure that the human rights of all people are protected. . It also calls upon the WHO to increase its assistance to multilateral agencies and non-state organizations that provide health services to Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. The WFPHA calls upon the United Nations to ensure the protection of the human rights of all people, to encourage the relevant stakeholders to return to the negotiating table, and to increase its efforts to bring a just resolution to the Middle East conflicts and the needs of people living in desperate conditions in Gaza.

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The World Federation of Publich Health Associations (WFPHA) presents a statement at the 71st World Health Assembly in May 2018 on the Responsible Use of Digital Technologies in Public Health.

71st World Health Assembly, Geneva, 21 – 26 May 2018

Agenda Item: 11.6 Global strategy and action plan on public health, innovation and intellectual property

The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) is the only international, nongovernmental organization serving the broad field of public health on a global level.

The WFPHA salutes the global strategy and plan of action on innovation and intellectual property (A71/13). Additionally, the WFPHA acknowledges the efforts for mHealth, (EB142/20) use of appropriate digital technologies for public health. The goal to reach health for all will inevitably utilize digital technologies, as we seek to integrate emerging technologies into our health systems.

If public health practitioners and institutions embrace technology – as they must do in response to consumer market demands – we have to be aware of how they’re applied across different models of society. Public health must build and maintain the trust of the public by ensuring individual rights and privileges are preserved. In using data for research, public health must also address ethical considerations with the responsible use of “big data” in the interests of the public’s health.

In general, we already know about the accomplishments, limitations, and consequences (both intended and unintended) of using these technologies in public health and clinical medicine. As the digital technology industry continues to grow, all public health professionals must be aware of the effects and examine the pressures that can indirectly influence their basic values.
Engaged stakeholders in the realm of public health have the responsibility to take a proactive role and express the views of the society we seek to protect. Our vision is for a society where technology enhances access and equity towards health for all.

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WFPHA is pleased to announce that Prof. Walter Ricciardi has been elected as VP-president elect. Looking forward to work together!

Prof. Walter Ricciardi, from the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, has started his term as Vice President in May 2018 and will continue his contributions as president from May 2020.

Dr. Tedros, WHO DG, has assured to Prof. Ricciardi that WHO is ready to strengthen its partnership with WFPHA. Congratulations to Prof. Ricciardi!

WFPHA also congratulates his new Governing Council members, also elected during the last General Assembly: Dr. George Amofah (Ghana Public Health Association), Dr. Geir Sverre Braut (Norway Public Health Association), Dr. Sanghamitra Gosh (Indian Public Health Association), Dr. Isabelle Nicoulet (French Public Health Association), Dr. Hernando Nieto (Colombian Public Health Association).