Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councilor Mpho Parks Tau is currently attending the Global Business Council on Health (GBCH) Conference and the Awards Dinner in New York. The GBCH serves as a hub for engagement on the world’s most pressing global health issues. Since 2001, GBCH has worked with hundreds of members – individually and in partnership – to tackle the challenges of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Diabetes and other health issues facing the workplace and communities where business is conducted. This year, several corporate executives, government leaders, policy makers, civil society visionaries and media champions will gather at the Roosevelt Hotel to explore the future role of business in creating a healthier workplace and world.
Mayor Tau will address the Conference on some of the key health issues facing Johannesburg and the related initiatives as well as projects to mitigate these challenges. He will be in the company of other city mayors and renowned personalities like Ms Michelle Bachelet the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women that supports and coordinates the work on gender equality and the empowerment of women; Ambassador Eric Goosby who leads all international US government efforts on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; Mr Michel Sidibe executive director of UNAIDS that supports countries to achieve their universal access targets and Millenium Development Goals as well as our own First Lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma. Mrs Ngema-Zuma provides leadership and participation in support of presidential community developmental programmes. The Conference provides a platform for governments, business and private sector to discuss major health issues, share experiences, technology and solutions to overcome many problems facing cities worldwide.
The phrase “double burden of disease” is accepted internationally as describing the transitional health in developing countries where the well-being or lack thereof of a population is displayed through both chronic forms of disease such as diabetes and obesity associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and disease associated with poverty and underdevelopment. Taken together with a high level of injuries associated with trauma, violence and the advent of HIV/AIDS, South Africa’s health system has seen a multiplied effect. Joburg in particular has an above national average percentage, 35.2% of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and heart disease. Coupled with high rates of migration, food insecurity and the impact of inequality, the City faces a formidable challenge. The challenge has, however, shifted course. Clear strategies and implementation plans have been credited for changing the situation.