Non Communicable Diseases: Common Goal, Common Effort, Common Approach?
Monday, 31 January 2011 00:00
An alliance among health organizations, health policy decision makers, scientists, and citizens in order to work in partnership to prevent and control the 4 non-communicable diseases- cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases-, and the 4 shared risk factors - tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and the harmful use of alcohol
The United Nations General Assembly will hold a Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Summit
involving Heads of State, in September 2011, to address the threat posed by NCDs to low and middle income countries (LMICs). The UN General Assembly [unanimous] decision was congratulated by the World Heart Federation, International Diabetes Federation (IDF), International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union). This alliance of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) represents the four diseases – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases – that are responsible for 35 million annual deaths globally, 80% of which occur in LMICs. http://www.un.org/en/ga/64/resolutions.shtml. The NCD Summit will raise the profile of NCDs on the global stage, mobilize the international community to take action, secure the commitment of Heads of State to lead the cross-government effort necessary to reverse the epidemic, and send a clear message to donors and funders. Extensive consultations will be required to define the key asks of the NCD community and ensure that the meeting produces concrete outcomes. Further research will be required in order to estimate the costs of the national interventions needed to successfully address NCDs in LMCs. It will also be critical to ensure that NCD interventions contribute to health systems strengthening within a horizontal rather than a vertical funding approach. http://www.ncdalliance.org/node/51
Stop the global epidemic non communicable disease
With that claim the WHO was launching its strategic 2008-2013 Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of non-communicable Diseases drawn up by the Secretariat as requested by the Health Assembly in resolution WHA60.23. The aim was to work in partnership to prevent and control the 4 non-communicable diseases - cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases -, and the 4 shared risk factors - tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and the harmful use of alcohol. Objectives were:
- mapping the emerging epidemics of non-communicable diseases and analyzing their social, economic, behavioral, and political determinants as the basis for providing guidance on the policy, programmatic, legislative and financial measures that are needed to support and monitor the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases;
- reducing the level of exposure of individuals and populations to the common modificable risk factors for non-communicable diseases – namely, tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, and the harmful use of alcohol – and their determinants, while at the same time strengthening the capacity of individuals and populations to make healthier choices and follow lifestyle patterns that foster good health;
- strengthening health care for people with non-communicable diseases by developing evidence-based norms, standards and guidelines for cost-effective interventions and by reorienting health systems to respond to the need for effective management of diseases of a chronic nature.
The plan is based on current scientific knowledge, available evidence and a review
of international experience http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2009/9789241597418_eng.pdf
The above mentioned proposals are confirming the need to tackle the NCDs no longer by a silos approach, but rather with a common effort of allied stakeholders. If the countries should combine efforts to fight the NCD as an undivided global epidemic, comparable efforts should be expected in better understanding the common patho-mechanisms among the mentioned diseases and in developing efficient approaches to their diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Scientists are in fact identifying common risk factors that are leading supporting the design of common approaches in the prevention of NCD. Further on scientists are even more understanding that the mentioned diseases have many patho-mechanisms in common, and have common genetic and environmental antecedents they would spring from a "common soil." (Diabetes 1995; 44 (4):369-74 - Pathophysiol aemost Thromb 2003; 33 (Suppl 2): 1-Thrombosis Research 2010; 125 (Suppl 2): S92-S95)
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