World Health Organization April 2011
This report sets out the statistics, evidence and experiences needed to launch a more forceful response to the growing threat posed by non-communicable diseases (NCD). While advice and recommendations are universally relevant, this report gives particular attention to conditions in low- and middle-income countries, which now bear nearly 80% of the burden from diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. The health consequences of the worldwide epidemic of obesity are also addressed in this report.
Using global, regional and country-specific data, the authors document the magnitude of the problem, project future trends, and assess the factors contributing to these trends. The authors note that the epidemic of these diseases is being driven by powerful forces now touching every region of the world such as demographic ageing, rapid unplanned urbanisation, and the globalisation of unhealthy lifestyles.
The authors explain that while many chronic conditions develop slowly, changes in lifestyles and behaviours are occurring with a stunning speed and sweep.
The report argues that countries can reverse the advance of these diseases and achieve quick gains if appropriate actions are taken in the three components of national NCD programmes: surveillance, prevention, and health care. Those actions include:
· a comprehensive approach that targets a population as a whole and includes both prevention and treatment interventions.
· multisectoral action from government, civil society and the private sector.
· surveillance and monitoring.
· strengthening of country health-care systems to address NCDs.
· best buys: prevention and control measures with clear evidence of effectiveness and high cost-effectiveness should be adopted and implemented.
· sustainable development: NCD preventions should therefore be included as a priority in national development initiatives and related investment decisions.
· civil society and the private sector for political mobilisation and public awareness, as well as responsible marketing.
The paper concludes that unless serious action is taken, the burden of NCDs will reach levels that are beyond the capacity of all stakeholders to manage.
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