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WHO launches new app to help curb skin cancer

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced the launch of a new mobile application that would help curb skin cancer.

The application, according to the WHO, is to help protect individuals from excessive ultraviolet exposure, a key cause of skin cancer and other ultraviolet-related diseases.

The WHO said the app will enable individuals to be aware of when to use sun protection, adding that it will help to lessen the burden of skin cancer and UV-related eye damage, globally.

According to the WHO, the app is programmed to give localised information regarding radiation levels in UV and also, highlight time slots when protection from the sun is necessary.

The global health agency said the launch of the SunSmart Global UV app was done in collaboration with, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The WHO director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, Dr. Maria Neira, said, “Evidence shows that overexposure to UV is the major cause of skin cancer.

“So, it’s vital for people to know when and how to protect ourselves.

“We encourage everyone to use the application to protect themselves and their children, and to make this a daily habit.”

Although, the sun is necessary for everyone majorly for the production of Vitamin D because it assists to prevent the occurrence of bone diseases like rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis.

The WHO however said too much sun can be hazardous, and even life-threatening.

According to the WHO, in 2020, more than 1.5 million skin cancer cases were diagnosed globally.

The global health agency added that over 120,000 individuals around the world also died from this very preventable disease.

The WHO noted saying, “one of the main factors contributing to these cancers is excess UV radiation from thinning of the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer resulting from the release of certain manmade chemicals.

“Under the international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol, all United Nations Member States are phasing out the production and consumption of those substances according to a specific timetable.

“As a result of these continuing efforts, the ozone level is projected to recover by mid-century. In the meantime, individuals need to be particularly cautious to protect themselves from receiving too much UV exposure – this is where the UV app plays an important awareness role,” it said.

The Executive Secretary of UNEP’s Ozone Secretariat, Ms. Meg Seki, said, “The Montreal Protocol protects the stratospheric ozone layer which, in turn, protects human health and the environment by blocking most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth’s surface.

“Skin cancer can result from overexposure to the sun, so everyone must remain vigilant and ensure they protect themselves adequately with hats and sunscreen.

“The SunSmart app is a fantastic UV monitoring tool, and I would encourage everyone to use it,” she said.

The global health agency said, “The UV App has been launched to coincide with the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere.

“By increasing the public’s awareness and helping to reduce the incidence of skin cancer, this application ultimately supports the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, which aims to ensure healthy lives and well-being worldwide by 2030.”

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