UN Week

Associated Press

KPLU's Tom Paulson caught up with physician-activist Paul Farmer at the Clinton Global Initiative, the other big meeting in New York full of heads of state, celebs and bigwigs.

Farmer, the inspiring and controversial cyclist-celeb Lance Armstrong and others have joined in the clarion call to expand the global health agenda to include all the big killers.

Read more on Humanosphere.

UN

Chronic or non-communicable diseases (aka NCDs) are the world’s big killers, representing about 60 percent of all causes of death. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease (mostly from tobacco), diabetes and the like kill many more people — most of them in the developing world — than do infectious diseases like AIDS, TB or malaria.

However, developing health goals to combat NCSs often run up against powerful commercial interests in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

Associated Press

As heads of state, officials and other bigwigs descend on New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, key city streets are closed, the traffic replaced by police officers, patrol cars and vans, and New Yorkers are irritated.

It’s UN Week and most of the buzz is about the Palestinian push for UN recognition as an independent state. President Obama is already in town, scheduled to speak at the UN on Wednesday.

But I’m not here for all that. I just came to see the UN deal with a proposal to re-set the global health agenda — something that, arguably, could do a lot more to increase global stability, our national security and worldwide economic growth than all this other blather. Arguably.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Some of the leading disease experts from Seattle are visiting the United Nations this week. They’re at a "High-Level" meeting to discuss whether poor countries should start worrying about cancer and diabetes – as much as malaria or AIDS. 

That's a controversial idea, says KPLU’s Humanosphere blogger Tom Paulson.  He's in New York to cover the meeting. Before he left he explained the controversy to KPLU’s Keith Seinfeld.