Non-communicable disease targets won’t be met

The world is set to miss its lifestyle disease targets, according to a new report from the World Health Organization

Unless there is serious change in the meantime, the global goal of a 30% reduction in death from non-infectious diseases by 2030 will not be met, the WHO says.

These non-communicable conditions include cardiovascular disease, cancers, mental illness, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes.

The report makes a series of recommendations to encourage progress, including that Prime Ministers, instead of Health Ministers, take oversight at the national level across nations.

The recommendations include:

  • Heads of State and Government, not Ministers of Health only, should oversee the process of creating ownership at national level of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health; and Political leaders at all levels, including the subnational level, for example, city mayors, should take responsibility for comprehensive local actions, together with the health sector, that can advance action against NCDs and mental disorders.
  • Governments should identify and implement a specific set of priorities within the overall NCD and mental health agenda, based on public health needs.
  • Governments should ensure that the national UHC public benefit package includes NCD and mental health services, including health promotion and prevention and priority health care interventions as well as access to essential medicines and technologies; primary health services should be strengthened to ensure equitable coverage, including essential public health functions, with an adequate and well-equipped multi-disciplinary health workforce, especially including community health workers and nurses; and synergies should be identified in existing chronic-care platforms, such as HIV and TB, to jumpstart NCD and mental health services.
  • Governments should increase effective regulation, appropriate engagement with the private sector, academia, civil society, and communities, building on a whole-of-society approach to NCDs, and share experiences and challenges, including policy models that work.
  • Governments and the international community should develop a new economic paradigm for funding action on NCDs and mental health.
  • Governments should strengthen accountability to their citizens for action on NCDs.

The report was launched by the WHO Independent High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases and its recommendations are set to be considered by the WHO Director-General and Member States to accelerate progress on preventing and managing NCDs in countries.

NCDs are the world’s leading killers, responsible for 41 million deaths per year, or 71% of all deaths globally. This includes 15 million people who die prematurely from NCDs between the ages of 30 and 70 years.

See the full report here

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