WHO calls for increased partnership to curb noncommunicable diseases


Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of adult mortality and morbidity worldwide. Four main diseases are generally considered to dominate noncommunicable disease mortality and morbidity: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. These four noncommunicable diseases are caused, to a large extent, by four modifiable behavioural risk factors:  tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. Noncommunicable diseases hit hardest at the world’s low- and middle-income groups and place a tremendous demand on health systems and social welfare, cause decreased productivity in the workplace, prolong disability and diminish resources within families. Globally, noncommunicable diseases and mental health disorders are estimated to cost US$ 47 trillion over the next 20 years, representing 75% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010.Noncommunicable diseases are expected to rise substantially in the coming decades, partly due to a growing ageing global population. Further, as urbanization and globalization increase in the developing world, there is likely to be an increase in the prevalence ofnoncommunicable diseases. Therefore, unless the NCD epidemic is aggressively confronted, the mounting impact of noncommunicablediseases will continue unabated.

Noncommunicable Diseases are top killers in South-East Asia Region, causing an estimated 7.9 million deaths annually. One third of these deaths are premature and occur before the age of 60 years, in the economically productive age population.

This Regional Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases, including Mental Health and Neurological Disorders from 24-26 April, 2012 in Yangon,Myanmar will focus on discussing regional implications and reaching agreement on priority actions by WHO’s South-East Asia Member States to realize the commitments of the UN High-Level Meeting Political Declaration. The meeting will also facilitate the preparation of a draft resolution on noncommunicable diseases including mental health and neurological disorders, which will be placed before the sixty-fifth Regional Committee in September 2012.

The Regional Meeting will be attended by over 100 stakeholders from health and non-health sectors from the South-East Asia Region. These would include high-level officials from the 11 Member States of the WHO’s South- East Asia Region, as well as representatives from the civil society, research and academic institutes, WHO collaborating centres, multilateral and inter-governmental organizations, foundations and donor countries.

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