C'bean commits to reducing suffering, deaths from non-communicable diseases

Friday, October 20, 2017

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (CMC) — Caribbean countries have joined in the global effort to “new and bold action” to reduce suffering and death from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), primarily heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said governments have endorsed the Montevideo Roadmap 2018-2030 on NCDs as a Sustainable Development Priority during the three-day Global Conference on Non-communicable Diseases, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Uruguay. The conference ends later on Friday.

PAHO said the pledge follows agreement by world leaders to reduce “premature” deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030 as part of the United Nations' Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It said NCDs kill 40 million annually, more than any other cause of death and of these deaths, 15 million occur prematurely among people aged 30-70 years, and seven million in low- and low-middle income countries.

“It is shocking to see the growing toll that diseases like cancer and diabetes are taking on the people who can least afford healthcare,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus.

“Governments must act on pledges to prevent these diseases in the first place, and to ensure that people can obtain services to treat them. Failure do to this imposes massive costs on individuals and communities. It totally contradicts global commitments to sustainable development.”

PAHO said the Montevideo Roadmap highlights the need for “coordinated and coherent action from all sectors and the whole of society, as many of the main drivers of ill health lie outside the control of health ministries, systems and professionals.

“Non-State actors, including civil society and industry, have important roles to play, “ it added, stating that the Roadmap also points out that the bulk of NCD deaths could have been prevented by action against tobacco, air pollution, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol – as well as by improved disease detection and treatment.

The Montevideo Roadmap, according to PAHO, identifies a range of challenges, including uneven and insufficient progress to reduce premature deaths from NCDs; influence of the private sector on governments to prioritise trade over public health goals; and lack of high-level political leadership to ensure that health promotion and NCD prevention and control are part of all areas of government policy.

PAHO said the Montevideo Roadmap will guide global preparations for next year's United Nations General Assembly Third High-level Meeting on NCDs.

The meeting will assess countries' progress in meeting the target of reducing premature NCD deaths by 25 per cent by 2025 and then by a third by 2030, PAHO said.

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