On World Health Day IOGT International asks decision-makers to show political will in fight against non-communicable diseases.
Today is World Health Day and the World Health Organization and its partners use this opportunity to both cherish the advances made in world health and to gather momentum for tackling existing problems.
IOGT International strongly participates in the commemoration: We have for more than 160 years been part of the global efforts to promote development by improving public health. Therefore World Health Day is important to reflect what is left to do: still today the world faces major threats to global health and positive societal development. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are one such key issue because they kill three out of five humans in the world.
In the world today, they are by far the leading cause of mortality. 60% of all deaths are attributable to NCDs. In 2005, for instance, 35 Million people died from NCDs . The main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic lung diseases and diabetes. They all share four risk factors – tobacco, alcohol use, poor diet and physical inactivity. A quarter of NCD deaths are suffered of people under the age of 60, who are in the prime of their lives. 9 in 10 of these people are from developing countries.
Obviously NCDs are not to be considered diseases of the rich any longer. We must address them, and the risk factors such as alcohol use, in order to promote public health, societal development and to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
A key issue now, for really making a change to the tremendous harm NCDs cause, is to address alcohol use. Decision-makers in the national governments need to take into consideration that alcohol, a leading risk factor and more harmful than tobacco, accounts for 3.8% of death and 4.6% of disability adjusted life years (DALY) lost in 2004.
According to recent data alcohol is ranking 3rd highest globally in terms of DALYs lost and is particularly correlated with NCDs like cancers, liver diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
Therefore it is crucial on World Health Day, that decision-makers get the facts right. IOGT International urges ministers from all over the world to show political will to take clear measures in a coherent approach for reducing NCDs. To reach the Millennium Development goals and to foster social development all over the world we need clear, binding commitments from governments.