The World Health Organization on Wednesday named billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg its global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases, the Associated Press reports. The media mogul and former New York mayor will help the United Nations agency reduce deaths, illness, and injuries linked to causes such as tobacco and alcohol use, obesity, and road accidents.
Margaret Chan, the organization’s director, said Mr. Bloomberg will help mobilize support from political leaders, businesses, and donors for work efforts to prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases, which cause 80 percent of deaths worldwide but account for only 2 percent of health funding.
Mr. Bloomberg’s political and philanthropic careers have been marked by efforts to curb smoking, reduce consumption of fatty and sugary foods, and improve traffic safety. He will hold the honorary W.H.O. ambassadorship for an initial period of two years.