The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 19 January 2015 released the Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases 2014.
As per the report, every year, 16 million people die prematurely before the age of 70 from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Most of these deaths are preventable.
WHO estimated the cost of reducing the global non-communicable diseases (NCD) burden is 11.2 billion US dollars a year. From 2011-2025, cumulative economic losses due to NCDs in low and middle-income countries is estimated at 7 trillion US dollars.
With an investment of only 1-3 US dollars per person per year, countries can dramatically reduce illness and death from non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The report provides the most current estimates based on NCD mortality (2012) and risk factors in 194 countries. The report outlines 9 global voluntary targets in the action plan that address key NCD risk factors including tobacco use, salt intake, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and harmful use of alcohol.
The 9 global NCD targets are:
1. 25 percent relative reduction in risk of premature mortality from cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases.
2. At least 10 percent relative reduction in the harmful use of alcohol within the national context.
3. A 10 percent relative reduction in prevalence of insufficient physical activity.
4. A 30 percent relative reduction in mean population intake of salt.
5. A 30 percent relative reduction in tobacco use in persons aged 15+ years.
6. A 25 percent relative reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure according to national circumstances.
7. Halt the rise in diabetes and obesity.
8. At least 50 percent of eligible people receive drug therapy to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
9. 80 percent availability of the affordable basic technologies and essential medicines to treat major NCDs in both public and private facilities.
Highlights of the report
• Out of the 38 million lives lost to NCDs in 2012, 16 million or 42 percent were premature and avoidable, this was 14.6 million in 2000.
• Premature NCD deaths can be significantly reduced through government policies reducing tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity, and delivering universal health care.
• The report calls for more action to be taken to curb the epidemic, particularly in low and middle-income countries, where deaths due to NCDs are overtaking those from infectious diseases.
• The WHO report provides the baseline for monitoring implementation of the Global action plan for NCDs 2013-2020 aimed at reducing the number of premature deaths from NCDs by 25 percent by 2025.
• Though some countries are making progress towards the global NCD targets, but the majority are off course to meet the 2025 targets. Till December 2013, only 70 countries had operational national NCD plan in line with the Global NCD action plan.
• High rates of death and disease, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are a reflection of inadequate investment in cost-effective NCD interventions.
Regional cost-effective successes listed in the report:
Turkey was the first country to implement all the best-buy measures for tobacco reduction. In 2012, the country increased the size of health-warning labels to cover 65 percent of the total surface area of each tobacco product. There is currently a total ban on tobacco advertisement.
Hungary passed a law to tax food and drink components with a high risk for health such as sugar, salt and caffeine. Around 40 percent of manufacturers changed their product formula to reduce the taxable ingredients.
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Mexico and the USA have promoted salt reduction in packaged foods and bread. Argentina has already achieved a 25 percent reduction in the salt content of bread.
In 1993, Finland introduced mandatory salt labelling and products containing particularly high levels of salt were also required to carry warning labels. Daily salt intake in Finland dropped from approximately 12 g/day in the late 1970s to as little as 6.8 g/day among women by 2002.
What: released by WHO
When: 19 January 2015