Loneliness a health crisis: WHO launches international commission for solutions

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WASHINGTON, Nov 19, (Agencies): Loneliness has been declared a global issue by the World Health Organization (WHO), prompting the launch of an international commission to combat it.

This week, the WHO introduced the Commission on Social Connection, with the goal of addressing loneliness as a significant health threat, prioritizing social connection, and accelerating the implementation of solutions across countries with varying income levels, as stated in a news release.

Headed by US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy and African Union Youth Envoy Chido Mpemba, the group comprises “11 leading policy-makers, thought leaders, and advocates,” according to the release. The commission is set to operate for the next three years, focusing on examining how loneliness and social isolation impact physical, mental, and emotional health. Dr Murthy, 46, likened the effects to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, emphasizing their potential severity compared to those associated with obesity and neglecting physical health.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Murthy stated, “I am thrilled to work closely with an outstanding group of Commissioners on advancing social connection – a vital component of well-being. Together, we can build a world that is less lonely, healthier, and more resilient.” He highlighted the obligation to invest in rebuilding the social fabric of society, drawing parallels with efforts made in addressing other global health concerns like tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis.

In her statement, Mpemba, 35, emphasized, “Young people are not immune to loneliness. Social isolation can affect anyone, of any age, anywhere.” She stressed the need to redefine the narrative around loneliness, particularly in Africa and beyond, underlining the critical role of investments in social connection for creating productive, resilient, and stable economies that promote the well-being of current and future generations.

This news has been read 571 times!

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