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WHO says Catalan government can do more against smoking and obesity

World Health Organization approves Catalonia's health planning but recommends tackling new challenges like climate change 

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14 February 2020 05:32 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The World Health Organization (WHO) has given health planning in Catalonia a pass, but says there is also room for improvement, following an evaluation by the WHO's European regional office carried out over the past 30 days.

After looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the country's consecutive health plans in the past three decades, the WHO recommends that for the next plan (2021-2025), more efforts need to be made to target smoking and obesity.

According to WHO health economist Melitta Jakab on Friday in Barcelona, despite the "coherence" of previous health plans, there are no "major successes" to be seen in the areas of smoking and obesity, and that "more ambitious" results are possible.  

Looking ahead to "key" new challenges

The WHO report also recommends that the Catalan authorities look ahead to "key" new challenges to health in its future plans, such as those posed by climate change, antimicrobial resistance, and social factors, such as inequality.

However, the evaluation recognized the strong points of health planning in the past 30 years, with Jakab saying that "Europe can learn from Catalonia, the challenge now is maintaining excellence in the next decade in a changing world." 

In bringing the event to a close, president Quim Torra thanked the government officials who have worked on previous health plans, as well as health system professionals, saying "we have a first-class health system."

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  • Melitta Jakab, a member of the WHO office in Barcelona, during an event to discuss health planning in Catalonia, February 14, 2020 (Blanca Blay)

  • Melitta Jakab, a member of the WHO office in Barcelona, during an event to discuss health planning in Catalonia, February 14, 2020 (Blanca Blay)

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