Beat NCDs: WHO Global Conference Beats Drum
World leaders will meet in Montevideo, Uruguay in October, to discuss and explore solutions to one of the world’s greatest challenges to date: Non-communicable diseases.
The WHO Global conference on NCDs, organized by the Presidency of Uruguay and the World Health Organization, is being held on 18-20 October, 2017, in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
Under the title “WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable diseases: Enhancing policy coherence between different spheres of policy making that have a bearing on attaining SDG target 3.4 on NCDs by 2030” world leaders together with civil society leaders including IOGT International will seek to galvanize more action and much better results in health promotion and sustainable development through addressing NCDs and their four risk factors.
Beat the drum to beat NCDs
World leaders agree that the global burden and threat of NCDs – mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases and their four major risk factors alcohol tobacco, physical inactivity and poor diet – represent one of the major health challenges of our times.
In 2015, NCDs were responsible for 40 million deaths, representing 70% of all deaths worldwide.
A large proportion of deaths were premature:
- over 15 million people (38% of NCD deaths and 27% of all global deaths) died between the ages of 30 and 70.
- 85% of premature deaths from NCDs occurred in developing countries, including 41% in lower-middle-income countries where the probability of dying from an NCD between the ages of 30 and 70 is up to four times higher than in developed countries.
- Most of these 15 million premature deaths from NCDs could have been prevented or delayed.
But based on the current rate of decline in premature mortality from the four main NCDs, the world will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target 3.4 to, by 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from NCDs through prevention and treatment.
Conference to galvanize urgent action and political leadership
National policies in sectors other than health have a major bearing on premature mortality from NCDs. Health gains can be achieved much more readily by influencing public policies in sectors like agriculture, food production, pharmaceutical production, taxation, trade, and urban development than my making changes in health policy alone. One of the main obstacles at country level, however, is a lack of capacity to pursue policy coherence – across all sectors at all levels and by all actors – for reducing premature deaths from NCDs.
The President of Uruguay, Dr Tabaré Ramón Vázquez, says that the conference offers a unique opportunity to accelerate action to prevent and control NCDs, including cardiovascular and chronic pulmonary diseases, cancer, and diabetes. The focus of the conference will be on promoting health and action against NCDs across all areas of government policy making – not health alone.
The Conference is expected to result in a concise outcome document. It is expected that the outcome document will be endorsed by the participants of the Conference.
The outcome document may also serve as an input into the discussions at the 71st World Health Assembly on the preparations for the third High-level Meeting of the United General Assembly on NCDs in 2018, as well as the intergovernmental process on the outcome document for the third High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2018, which will take place under the auspices of the President of the UN General Assembly.