Tackle Men’s Health Problems In Every Country, Says Global Men’s Health Organisation At Start Of Men’s Health Week

Media Release - Men's Health Week from around the world.

For more information, contact: Peter Baker, Director, Global Action on Men’s Health. gamh@emhf.org; +44 7786 454 905

Today, at the start of International Men’s Health Week 2016, GAMH is urging the WHO and other leading global public health organisations to develop policies and deliver services that take full account of men as well as women. We also want national governments to act now to tackle the problems facing men.

Men’s health is worse than women’s in every part of the world. Recent World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows that, globally, male life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 69 years; for females, it was 74 years.

This gender gap is replicated in every WHO region. In Africa, male life expectancy is 58 years, 3.5 years fewer than female life expectancy; in the Americas, men can expect to live to 74, 6 years fewer than women; in Europe, the male figure is 73 (7 years fewer).

There are also some very marked gaps between men in different countries. Men live longest in Switzerland where their life expectancy is now 81 years, 32 years longer than for men in Sierra Leone.

Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) data follows a similar pattern: globally, male and female HLEs are 61.5 and 64.6 years respectively with the largest difference in Europe where women can expect 5 more healthy life years than men.

There are some health problems that affect men particularly. Worldwide, men are twice as likely as women to die from suicide, for example. There are some 475,000 deaths from murder each year, of which 80% are male; the number of male deaths from murder (380,000 pa) actually exceeds the number of women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth (303,000 pa). Cancer also affects significantly more men - there are 126 cancer deaths for every 100,000 men in the world, and 83 for every 100,000 females. 

Over 1.1 billion people smoke worldwide and the vast majority of smokers are male; men are also more likely to drink alcohol at unhealthy levels, use illegal drugs and have a poor diet. They are more likely than women to be exposed to occupational health hazards. Many men are also unaware of some of the main symptoms of potentially serious diseases and are less likely to seek medical help at the most appropriate time, especially for mental health problems.

But men’s health problems have as yet received little national, regional or global attention from health policymakers or healthcare providers. At the start of International Men’s Health Week 2016 (13-19th June) and with the backing of 12 organisations based in four continents, Global Action on Men’s Health (GAMH) wants the World Health Organisation and other international public health bodies, as well as individual governments, to acknowledge the scale of the problems facing men and boys and to take sustained action to tackle them. This work should sit alongside continuing action to improve the health of women and girls.

Dr Anthony Brown, GAMH Chair and Secretary of the Australian Men’s Health Forum, said: “Any serious effort to improve public health must pay attention to the health needs of both sexes and take account of the differences between them. Tackling men’s health problems needs to be part of the response to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which include calls for action on tobacco, alcohol and drug use, non-communicable diseases, mental health and road traffic accidents,

Today, at the start of International Men’s Health Week 2016, GAMH is urging the WHO and other leading global public health organisations to develop policies and deliver services that take full account of men as well as women. We also want national governments to act now to tackle the problems facing men.

GAMH specifically wants to see:

  • Global health organizations and national governments addressing the health and well-being needs of men and boys in all relevant policies and through the introduction of overarching national men’s health policies.
  • Men and boys being encouraged and supported to take better care of their own health as well as the health of their partners and children.
  • Health practitioners taking greater account of the specific needs of men and boys in service delivery, health promotion, and clinical practice. Improving men’s access to primary care is a particular priority, especially for mental health problems.
  • Other agencies and organizations, such as schools and workplaces, becoming more aware of their significant potential role in improving the health of men and boys.
  • Sustained multidisciplinary research into the health of men and boys. 

ENDS

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